The investigation into the Pakistani IT staffers hired by Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz continues to escalate, and a new report by the Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group (DCNF) provides fresh details from police records regarding the probe.
The investigation involves six Pakistanis whom as many as 30 House Democrats hired as IT staffers, allowing the techies to rake in over $4 million in wages over a 13-year period.
At the center of the investigation is Imran Awan, 37, who Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz hired in 2005. Also included in the case are Awan’s wife, Hina Alvi, 33, two of his brothers, a sister-in-law and a friend, also from Pakistan.
Just after midnight on April 6, 2017, U.S. Capitol Police discovered a laptop left in a small room that was previously used as a phone booth on the second floor of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The laptop had the username “RepDWS.” Conveniently placed with the laptop were a Pakistani ID card, a congressional ID badge, copies of Imran Awan’s driver’s license, and letters to the U.S. attorney. Capitol Police also found a notebook that included notes marked “attorney-client privilege.”
The DCNF noted that the laptop was placed in an area in which Awan should not have been allowed, as Wasserman Schultz’s office is in the Longworth Building, and all other House members for whom he had worked had already fired him.
The details in the Capitol Police report, describing how they found the laptop in the “phone booth,” indicate Awan may have left it there on purpose, hoping the police would find it.
House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) told the DCNF, “Imran Awan is a calculating person who made great efforts to cover his tracks, both electronically and physically. Placing that laptop with his personal documents – which may well incriminate him, those he worked for, or both – in the dead of night, in a House office building, was a deliberate act by a cunning suspect, and it needs to be investigated.”
In a hearing on May 18, 2017, Wasserman Schultz demanded that the confiscated laptop be returned, and threatened Chief Matthew Verderosa with “consequences” if it was not returned.
“If I—if a member loses equipment and it is found by the Capitol Police or your staff and identified as that member’s equipment, and the member is not associated with any case… it is supposed to be returned, yes or no?” Wasserman Schultz demanded.
Verderosa noted that the laptop was part of an ongoing criminal investigation and until the investigation is completed, he couldn’t return the laptop.
The DCNF noted that Wasserman Schultz changed her story a couple of months later, saying on Aug. 3 that she had never seen the laptop, but was just trying to protect Awan’s rights.
Wasserman Schultz has desperately tried to prevent the laptop from being examined, even hiring an outside counsel, William Pittard, a partner with KaiserDillon, to argue on her behalf.
In May, it was reported that Imran Awan’s wife, Hina Alvi, had fled back to Pakistan with her children. Awan tried to follow her but was caught and arrested at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., on Monday night, July 24. Wasserman Schultz reportedly kept Awan on her payroll until after his arrest at the airport.
The DNCF provided the following text from the police report:
On 4/6/2017 at 0021 hours, with the building closed to the public, AOC informed USCP Rayburn offices of an unattended bag in the phone booth on the 2nd floor. The officer received the open-contents visible bag and prepared a found property report. While reviewing the inventory of the bag contents, the officer found
#1 a Pakistani ID card with the name Mohommed Ashraf Awan
#2 a copy – not original – of a drivers license with name Imran Awan
#3 a copy (front and back) of his congressional ID
#4 an Apple laptop with the homescreen initials ‘RepDWS’
#5 composition notebooks with notes handwritten saying ‘attorney client privilege’ and possibly discussing case details below
#6 loose letters addressed to US Attorney of DC discussing the apparent owner of the bag being investigated.
Approximately 3-4 months ago officer was requested by SAA as police presence of 4 individuals being interviewed, including the bag owner. It is unknown to the officer whether he is still employed.
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