GOP chair Ronna Romney McDaniel has demanded that former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) testify before Congress on Imran Awan. Awan was arrested on Monday on bank fraud charges. He remained on Wasserman Schultz’s Congressional payroll even though he had been under investigation since February. Awan is an IT specialist who, along with his brother and their wives, had access to sensitive computer files and emails. 

There were 31 Democrats in the House that utilized the services of Imran and associates:

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) 
Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA) 
Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) 
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) 
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) 
Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL) 
Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) 
Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD)
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) 
Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) 

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) 
Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-MI) 
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) 
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) 
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) 
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) 

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) 
Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA) 
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) 
Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL) 
Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) 
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) 
Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) 

Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA) 
Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) 
Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL) 
Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) 
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) 
Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) 
Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) 
Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL)  

Awan was caught at Dulles International Airport near Washington DC where he was seeking to flee the country and join his wife, who has already flown the coop. He had worked for Congress for more than a decade. Federal agents found that he had wired hundreds of thousands of dollars to his native Pakistan. Some of those funds may have been fraudulently obtained. McDaniel said that Awan and family received over $4 million of taxpayer money between 2005 and 2009. 

McDaniel wants Wasserman Schultz to testify before a congressional committee about what she knows. It is not clear whether she will be willing to come before her colleagues to explain why kept Awan on the payroll. Wasserman Schultz resigned her job with the DNC last summer in the midst of leaks of DMC emails and the resulting controversy. Awan had worked for Wasserman Schultz since 2004. He was not fired until after news broke that he was arrested while fleeing the country.

Federal agents picked up Imran Awan, the Pakistani-born IT vendor for Wasserman Schultz, at the airport attempting to flee the country on Tuesday night. He had just wired hundreds of thousands of dollars to Pakistan in his effort to escape scrutiny. He has been under investigation for some time. The staffer was on Wasserman Schultz’s payroll since 2004 until Tuesday night and was not fired until after he was arrested in an attempt to flee the country.

McDaniel is worried that Awan may have had access to national security information, as well as data relevant to the ongoing investigations into supposed connections between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. McDaniel said she wants to know what access he had to DNC servers and to Wasserman Schultz’s servers and computers. McDaniel is also calling on Democrats, Members of Congress and staff alike, to testify before relevant committees.

McDaniel complained that Democrats are obstructing investigations.She also said that  Wasserman Schultz threatened a Capitol Hill police officer while protecting Awan.

On Fox Business News, McDaniel was interviewed by host Maria Bartiromo. McDaniel said, “[Wasserman Schultz] kept him on her staff. He was a taxpayer-funded government employee until yesterday when she finally fired him.  We need to figure out why he’s under criminal investigation and we’re not hearing that across the country right now." She added, "We have to get to the bottom of this, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz has obstructed at every level on something that affects potentially our national security.  We are not hearing the Democrats talk about it at all. Where’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz?”

Another Republican expressing security concerns in the widening Awan investigation is Rep. Steve King of Iowa. King said that facts in the case are not clear. He said, “If the reports are right, if these three individuals…drew down, over this period of time, $4 million and Debbie Wasserman Schultz had a part-time employee who’s making $165,000 that she just fired – what – yesterday afternoon?” King mused with Breitbart podcast Curt Schilling.

Awan’s family ties to Pakistan, possible involvement with the Hezbollah terrorist organization, and reports of smashed computer hard-drives and years of access to House Democrats’ computer systems, are raising alarms on the Hill. King said of the issue: “They had access to the information on the multiple clients that they had, and that number is nearly a score, as I recall, they would have had access to all the information that came through all those computers in all those offices and access to…all the communications of the foreign affairs committee.” 

Breitbart host Schilling said in reply, “I think this could be an enormous act of treason with a lot of people complicit.” 

Awan is accused of giving false information to the Congressional Federal Credit Union while seeking a loan. On Tuesday, he pleaded not guilty to one count of bank fraud and was released. He is required to wear a GPS monitor, remain within 50 miles of his current home, and abide by a curfew. He was told to surrender all of his passports.

Awan is due back in court on August 21 for a preliminary hearing. His wife is now in Pakistan. Awan, his wife, and three other men — Awan’s relatives Abid Awan and Jamal Awan,  and friend Rao Abbas — have been under investigation by Capitol Police since February 2017 for allegedly stealing equipment from various House Democrats and misuse of the House’s internet technology system.

Awan has hired Chris Gowen as legal counsel. Gowen has long been associated with Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Gowen described Awan’s arrest as “clearly a right-wing media-driven prosecution by a United States Attorney’s Office that wants to prosecute people for working while Muslim.”



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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