Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has reportedly avoided contact with the media at all costs in the wake of the arrest of former DNC IT staffer, Pakistani-born Imran Awan, the Daily Caller said Friday.
Awan and his family members were under investigation by Capitol Police for security breaches within Democratic offices in the House of Representatives, potentially endangering the sensitive information of 32 different lawmakers and their staffs and committees.
Awan was suspected of stealing equipment from members' offices and committing potentially illegal violations on the House information technology network, including leaking sensitive information from House members' personal devices.
Law enforcement officials arrested Awan Monday night at Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport as he attempted to flee the country to Pakistan to join his wife and children who had already fled the U.S. in March. The FBI named Awan's wife, Hina Alvi, a co-conspirator in Awan's crimes.
Authorities say Awan was arrested for attempting to defraud the Congressional Federal Credit Union by lying about a home equity loan he tried to get through a rental property.
Since then, Wasserman Schultz has avoided reporters. This includes running back up the House Capitol steps and into the building with staffers in tow at the site of the press, according to the Daily Caller.
On Wednesday, Wasserman Schutlz's spokesman, David Damron, told the Miami Herald that the congresswoman would not take questions about the Awans.
That evening, Schultz released a statement, the Herald reported:
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. Upon learning of his arrest, he was terminated.
Damron told the Herald that Awan was working on the congresswoman's staff as an adviser as of Monday but had been fired Tuesday following his arrest.
In March, Capitol Police banned Awan and his family from working around DNC House computer servers during the investigation. However, Wasserman Schultz did not fire Awan and instead allowed him to continue his job remotely, serving on in an "advisory capacity."
According to the Daily Caller, the news organization has "heard multiple reports from witnesses who say that Wasserman Schultz has appeared despondent and jumpy since Awan’s arrest."
The Daily Caller also reported that Awan pleaded "not guilty" to one charge of bank fraud at a Tuesday arraignment at the U.S. District Court for D.C. and was "given permission to go home if he wore a GPS monitor ankle bracelet, obeyed a strict curfew, gave up his passport and stayed within a 50-mile radius of his residence."
The Awan family was reported to have served as IT staffers to dozens of House Democratic lawmakers, including members of the Homeland Security Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Intelligence Committee.
Democratic officials were reportedly highly protective of Awan and his family, despite work being done poorly — if it was done at all. Awan and his family each made the $165,000 a year — the same salary as a senior congressman. A manager from a differing tech company reportedly made the offer to do Awan's job at one-fourth the price, but was turned down by House Democratic leadership.
The protectiveness of the Awans by House Democrats prompted suspicions by IT company managers working both on and off Capitol Hill that the Awans had blackmail material on Democratic lawmakers.