Additionally, a group of her fellow Democrats, who had also employed Awan as a shared IT staffer in the Capitol, dismissed him and his working family members last February when law enforcement began investigating the group for stealing equipment and breaching network security.
Wasserman Schultz blamed “right wing media” and anti-Muslim bigotry for questions regarding her further employment of Awan long after other Democrats cut him off, but other Democrats are not buying her explanation and wish to see her gone.
One year after the Florida congresswoman’sresignation 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 defense after steadfastly refusing to explain why she continued to employ Imran Awan, an IT staffer who was under a federal investigation for an 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.”