A right-leaning watchdog group has filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz because she continued to employ an IT staffer after he became the subject of a criminal investigation.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust on Monday asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to launch an investigation into “Wasserman Schultz’s apparent breach of House Ethics Rules.” According to the conservative ethics organization, Wasserman Schultz violated ethics rules by continuing to employ Imran Awan even after he was blocked from using the House IT system.
“There is something quite amiss as to why Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz continued to use taxpayer funds to employ former technology staff member, Imran Awan, even months after he was barred from accessing the House’s computer systems and a number of her colleagues severed ties with Awan,” said Matthew Whitaker, the organization’s executive director, in a statement.
Wasserman Schultz fired Awan last week after he was arrested on one count of bank fraud while attempting to leave the United States for Pakistan, POLITICO reported. Awan and several family members, who also previously served as House staffers, have been at the center of a months-long House investigation.
The complaint says that since Awan was barred from accessing House computer system, he would have been prevented from “performing any reasonable IT work.”
“It appears that Representative Wasserman Schultz permitted an employee to remain on the House payroll in violation of House Ethics rules,” wrote Whitaker in the complaint. “After Awan was barred from accessing the House computer system, Wasserman Schultz continued to pay Awan with taxpayer funds for IT consulting — a position that he could not reasonably perform.”
David Damron, a spokesman for Wasserman Schultz, told POLITICO, the complaint was baseless and meant to undermine Wasserman Schultz.