“We Wish She Would Go Away”: Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Political Future Destroyed Over Awan Brothers Scandal
The political prospects of former DNC Head Debbie Wasserman Schultz have dried up following the Awan brothers scandal. Wasserman Schultz kept a Pakistan IT staffer on her payroll long after he was accused of stealing computer equipment and sensitive information from Capitol Hill. Awan was arrested last month after attempting to flee the U.S.
Florida Democrats want Wasserman Schultz to “just go away.”
The chatter about a House leadership post is gone. So is talk of statewide office. After Hillary Clinton’s defeat, there’s no prospect of an administration job for Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
One year after the Florida congresswoman’s resignation as national party chair at the Democratic National Convention — where activists booed and shouted “shame!” at her during a Florida delegation breakfast speech — the once-rising star’s political fortunes continue to fade, beset by critics on all sides.
Wasserman Schultz is again on defenseafter steadfastly refusing to explain why she continued to employ Imran Awan, an IT staffer who was under a federal investigation for alleged equipment and data scam in the U.S. House since February. She finally fired him on July 25, one day after authorities arrested him on a seemingly unrelated mortgage fraud charge. He was at the airport leaving for Pakistan, after wiring $283,000 there.
The firing came a full six months after about two dozen House Democrats dismissed four of Awan’s relatives and a friend, all of whom were under investigation with him.
Wasserman Schultz broke her public silence on Awan last week, portraying herself as the victim of “right wing media” attacks rooted in anti-Muslim bigotry aimed at Awan and the IT group.
But fellow Democrats are as confounded and disbelieving as ever by her penchant for making puzzling and stubborn political missteps.
“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.”
Recently, former DNC Head Debbie Wasserman Schultz broke her silence on arrested IT staffer Imran Awan, saying she has no regrets about keeping him on the payroll after he was blocked from working on Capitol Hill.
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Orlando Sentinel reports:
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz defiantly stands by her decision to keep an information technology aide on her payroll for six months after he was banned from the House network and fired by other members of Congress.
“I believe that I did the right thing, and I would do it again,” Wasserman Schultz said Thursday in an exclusive interview with the Sun Sentinel. “There are times when you can’t be afraid to stand alone, and you have to stand up for what’s right.
“It would have been easier for me to just fire him,” she said.
The Weston Democrat did fire Imran Awan last week after he was arrested on bank fraud charges at an airport while trying to leave the country.
As the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman, Wasserman Schultz is the most prominent Democrat who employed Awan. Her decision to keep employing Awan has been under fire from her Democratic primary challenger, Republicans and multiple conservative websites. They’ve suggested Wasserman Schultz is hiding something and the Awan matter is much more serious than she’s letting on.
His arrest, the congresswoman said, had nothing to do with the months-long investigation of Awan as an IT worker for a variety of members of Congress. An FBI affidavit filed with the criminal complaint said Awan and his wife claimed a property used to secure a home equity line of credit was a “principal residence,” when it was, in fact, a rental property. Wasserman Schultz said there still hasn’t been any evidence presented that he’s done anything wrong involving his work for Congress.