Threat Management

Watchdog group asks for ethics probe of Wasserman Schultz after IT staffer’s arrest

The right-leaning Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) has asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., for continuing to employ a longtime IT staffer who was arrested over the weekend for bank fraud but was suspected of data and equipment theft.

Imran Awan, who worked for more than 24 Democratic members of Congress over the past 13 years, was arrested over the weekend at Dulles International Airport as he prepared to board a flight to Pakistan to join his wife, Alvi, a former House staff member also under investigation, who left for Pakistan in March. He was picked up after he filed illegally for a home equity loan on rental property, which violates the Congressional Federal Credit Union rules. It was only after Awan was arrested at the airport that Wasserman Schultz fired him – other members of Congress had fired him in February when the probe was revealed and Awan's access to the House IT system was yanked.

“For several months, Wasserman Schultz refused to remove Awan from house payroll even though he was barred from the House computer system which would presumably prevent him from performing any reasonable IT work,” FACT Executive Director Matthew G. Whitaker wrote in a letter to OCE Chairman Doc Hastings, calling it “contrary to the House Ethics Rules for Waserman Schultz to continue to pay Awan with taxpayer funds even after he was barred from the House computer system and could not perform his duties, and was also under criminal investigation.” 

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