“Wasserman Schultz has been evasive and unable to answer even basic questions about the nature of Awan’s employment with her office.”
Republicans have suggested that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz should testify to explain why she kept IT aide Imran Awan on her payroll after he became a subject of an FBI investigation in March.
Wasserman Schultz did not fire Awan until last week when authorities arrested him at Dulles Airport on bank fraud charges.
The Capital Police placed Awan along with his wife and two brothers under investigation months ago for breaching House IT systems and stealing equipment. Other House lawmakers fired the four, but Wasserman Schultz kept Awan on payroll.
Pressure for Wasserman Schultz to Testify
From Fox News:
“I think she should testify,” Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told conservative radio host Dana Loesch on Monday. “If I had a staff member, an IT staff member, who had access to all of our data and all of our infrastructure and he had come under investigation … you better believe I would be cooperating.”
Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., also indicated support on Monday for Schultz testifying, though no such hearing has been formally called at this point.
“We have to investigate how our systems may have been compromised, and that may involve putting people in the [witness] chair,” he told “Fox & Friends.”
The Office of Congressional Ethics received a complaint from the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a non-partisan watchdog ethics group, against Wasserman Schultz due to her decision to keep Awan on her staff. From The Daily Caller:
“There is something quite amiss as to why Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz continued to use taxpayer funds to employ former technology staff member, Imran Awan, even months after he was barred from accessing the House’s computer systems and a number of her colleagues severed ties with Awan,” said FACT executive director Matthew Whitaker.
“Since Awan’s arrest last week, Wasserman Schultz has been evasive and unable to answer even basic questions about the nature of Awan’s employment with her office. This only further confirms the urgency of an investigation into her unethical and illegal actions,” Whitaker added.
Investigation Into the Scandal Advances in Congress?
The Washington Free Beacon has reported that senior congressional sources told the publication that Congress has decided to advance the investigation within the Capital.
The sources also said that Wasserman Schultz’s “refusal to answer questions” and continual payment to Awan “may merit her resignation.”
The leaders in Congress have asked the Capital Police for a formal briefing into its investigation. The Free Beacon reported:
Leading members of Congress are growing frustrated with the pace of the criminal investigation and have moved to conduct their own independent probe into the scandal, according to multiple sources who indicated that the relevant congressional committees are making moves to start an investigation, which could include compelling testimony from Wasserman Schultz, who has been accused of stonewalling on the issue.
As more information about the nature and scope of the IT staffers’ collection of privileged congressional information becomes public, lawmakers are seeking to immediately begin their own investigation into the situation.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Oversight Committee and chair of its National Security Subcommittee, formally requested a briefing from the Capitol Police on Tuesday, telling the Free Beacon that the situation amounts to “one of the all-time congressional scandals in the last 30 years.”
The scandal is said to have rocked the halls of Congress, despite little mainstream media coverage, sources said.
“The extent of the potential breaches has been made more clear” in recent weeks, according to one senior congressional source who would only speak on background when discussing the sensitive matter. “The inexplicable nature of the conduct of Wassermann Schultz and others has broadened” congressional interest.
Lawmakers are confused as to why Wasserman Schultz continued paying Awan and other staffers implicated in the breach for several months after this information came to light.
“At best for her that is gross misapplication of public funds that could merit resignation alone,” the source said. “There’s got to be more to that story.”
Here’s some background information on the scandal as we’ve been following it here at Legal Insurrection.
In February, reports surfaced that four House employees face an investigation for breaching House IT systems and stealing equipment.Media named Hina, Abid, Imran, and Jamal in reports the following days. Lawmakers fired the four when the suspicions arose and barred the brothers “from computer networks at the House of Representatives.”
The House members included three congressmen on the intelligence panel and three on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The officials suspect the four of “accessing members’ computer networks without their knowledge and stealing equipment from Congress.”
Hina and her two daughters with Imran escaped to Pakistan in March, even though the Capital Police caught up with them at the airport.
Last week, the FBI seized a bunch of smashed hard drives from the home of Awan. A Marine corps veteran and his Navy Officer wife now occupy the home and he discovered “wireless routers, hard drives that look like they tried to destroy, laptops, [and] a lot of brand new expensive toner.”
Wasserman Schultz has done everything she can to protect Awan and even changed his title from technology administrator to advisor.DONATE
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