TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC)-The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) called Monday for a congressional probe since she continued to employ an IT staffer although the person was at the center of a criminal investigation
Imran Awan, continued working for Schultz even after he was blocked from accessing the House IT system earlier this year and this is an “apparent breach” of rules in the lower chamber of the US Congress, argued the right-leaning accountability group.
Last week, Awan was finally arrested on one count of bank fraud ahead of leaving the United States for Pakistan.
Awan’s relatives, who work as shared employees for more than two dozen House Democrats, were mostly fired after the Capitol Hill investigation came to light in early February 2016.
The months–long investigation involves equipment and data scam on Capitol Hill.
“House staff are compensated with taxpayer funds, and members are directly responsible for ensuring their staff are only paid for official public work, work that has actually [been] performed and at a rate commensurate with the work performed,” Matthew Whitaker, the FACT executive director, wrote in a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). “It was, therefore, contrary to the House ethics rule for Wasserman Schultz to continue to pay Awan with taxpayer funds even after he was barred from the House computer system and could not perform his duties, and was also under criminal investigation.”
According to David Damron, a spokesman for Wasserman Schultz, the allegations are "entirely baseless" and meant to bring down a fierce opponent of Republican US President Donald Trump.
"Our office worked with the House Chief Administrative Officer to outline a position that allowed us to obtain, and our employee to provide, valuable services without access to the House network," Damron said. "Those services included consulting on a variety of office needs, such as on our website and printers, trouble-shooting, and other issues."
There are also those asserting that Awan is being targeted because he is a Muslim.
"After details of the investigation were reviewed with us, my office was provided no evidence to indicate that laws had been broken, which over time, raised troubling concerns about due process, fair treatment and potential ethnic and religious profiling," Schultz said in a statement. "Upon learning of his arrest, he was terminated."