Indictment includes his wife.
A grand jury has indicted Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s former IT aide Imran Awan on four counts. The indictment includes his wife Hina Alvi, who escaped to Pakistan with their daughters earlier this year.
Authorities arrested Awan at Dulles airport in July, where he planned to fly to Pakistan after he wired almost $300,000 to the country.
From Fox News:
Awan and other IT aides for House Democrats have been on investigators’ radar for months over concerns of possible double-billing, alleged equipment theft, and access to sensitive computer systems. Most lawmakers fired Awan in February, but Schultz had kept him on until his arrest in July.
The indictment itself, which merely represents formal charges and is not a finding of guilt, addresses separate allegations that Awan and his wife engaged in a conspiracy to obtain home equity lines of credit from the Congressional Federal Credit Union by giving false information about two properties – and then sending the proceeds to individuals in Pakistan.
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.”
The Representatives affected include Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and then-Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY).
Wasserman Schultz kept Awan on her payroll, though. She did not fire him until after his arrest.
“We wish she would go away and stop being so public by doubling down on negative stories,” said Nikki Barnes, a progressive DNC member from Florida, who believes Wasserman Schultz left the national party “in shambles” while chair, culminating with the hack of DNC servers and the release of embarrassing internal emails by WikiLeaks in the 2016 campaign. As for Wasserman Schultz’s defense, Barnes said “none of this makes sense. It doesn’t sound like racial profiling … there must have been something for her.”
To Democrats like the DNC’s Barnes, it’s a distraction the party can ill afford.
“Everything that’s going on right now is taking away from what success we’re seeing in the grass-roots movement. No one’s talking about the people’s platform or hearing our good news because the headlines are focused on Debbie, her misplaced laptop and consequences,” Barnes said.
I have blogged how people in Congress have started to pressure Wasserman Schultz to testify why she kept Awan employed even after the FBI started its investigation.
Sources told The Washington Free Beacon that her “refusal to answer questions” and continual payment to Awan “may merit her resignation.” Congressional leaders have even asked the Capital Police for an a formal briefing into its investigation:
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.”
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