Former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz just can’t stay away from scandal and corruption.
In case your memory is foggy, here’s a quick recap of Debbie’s greatest hits: Wasserman Schultz disgracefully resigned as DNC chairwoman in July 2016 after WikiLeaks published thousands of her emails revealing plans to sabotage Bernie Sanders and secure Hillary Clinton’s nomination. Even before her shameful resignation, Wasserman Schultz was known for being an incompetent leader and poor communicator, with a string of public blunders including asking the DNC to cover the costs of her wardrobe and comparing voter ID laws to Jim Crow laws, exposing herself as a politically tone-deaf hack.
It’s safe to say the woman’s got a knack for earning negative headlines.
Which is why it’s no surprise that Wasserman Schultz’s career has once again blown up for all the wrong reasons. Back in February, a ring of house IT workers were accused of “stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network”. The group, led by Imran Awan, was suspected of stealing computers from over 20 member offices and collecting their data. Things got stranger in early July when it was suspected that Awan and his group of IT staffers were blackmailing Wasserman Schultz and other House democrats with their own data. This week, the case took another bizarre turn when the FBI arrested Imran Awan as he attempted to flee the country and fly to his home in Lahore, Pakistan.
Awan, the subject of a Capitol Police investigation since last winter, was finally arrested on Monday night at Dulles international Airport in Virginia. Awan was charged with multiple counts of bank fraud as part of a scheme involving double-charging for House IT equipment, as well as allegedly attempting to get a loan from the Congressional Federal Credit Union on a rental property by claiming it as his primary residence. Awan pleaded not guilty. Although currently released, the FBI has confiscated his passport and he will be required to abide by a curfew, wear a GPS monitoring device, and surrender his possessions before his August court date.
But Awan’s criminal activities don’t end there.
In February, upon finding out he was under investigation, Awan moved out of his home in Virginia, renting the house to a Marine Corps veteran and his Navy Officer wife. When they moved in, these new tenants found some interesting materials—a collection of smashed hard drives had been left behind, along with other equipment appearing as though Awan had tried to destroy it, including wireless routers and laptops. “It was in the garage”, the veteran said, “They left in a huge hurry. It looks like government-issued equipment. We turned that stuff over”. Awan reacted by asking for the materials back and threatening to sue the tenants for their return– which is, quite possibly, the most self-incriminating action he could’ve taken.
By asking for the equipment back, Awan has inadvertently established a link to the materials that federal prosecutors may have had to otherwise prove exists. By affirming his connection to the smashed hard drives and other equipment, Awan has essentially confirmed his involvement.
And speaking of self-incriminating, where is Debbie Wassermann Schultz in all this?
Despite officially firing Awan on Tuesday, many are questioning why she kept Awan on the House payroll and gave him continued access to House computers and data even while he was under investigation. Why is Wasserman Schultz being let off the hook, rather than arrested for enabling these criminal activities? The former DNC chair has always had a career marked by scandal, ineptitude, and dishonesty. Despite recent efforts to revive her image and gain clout among young voters, Wasserman Schultz still holds a reputation as an out-of-touch hypocrite politician who represents the worst of the Democratic Party.
With the FBI now in possession of the smashed hard drives and Imran Awan waiting for his next court date, we can only hope that Capitol officials wake up and decide to prosecute Debbie Wasserman Schultz for compromising national security. Until then, we’re left to wonder: will the democrats ever learn? Will Wasserman Schultz ever hear the sound of a cell door slamming shut?
Now, more than ever, we need politicians who prioritize integrity over cash and cronies.