Watchdog Group Requests Ethics Committee Probe Of Lawmaker Involved In Awan Case
A watchdog group is asking the congressional ethics committee to investigate a Democratic lawmaker for allegedly allowing nearly $120,000 of taxpayer-funded equipment ordered at the behest of IT staffer Abid Awan to go missing.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) asked the Office of Congressional Ethics Thursday to probe Rep. Yvette Clarke for corruption and misusing nearly $120,000. FACT extensively cited a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation into Awan’s misdeed as one of the main reasons for the group’s request.
“The reported facts surrounding the loss, as well as the dollar amount, indicate abuse and corruption,” FACT Executive Director Kendra Arnold wrote in a letter to Chairman Doc Hastings. The New York Democrat allegedly wrote off the money in 2016, months after Clarke then-staffer, Wendy Anderson, reportedly caught Awan rummaging through equipment in her office.
Anderson discovered strange orders for equipment dating back several years after she became Yvette’s chief of staff. She found that the equipment ordered had no apparent business value and could not be accounted for on the books, according to TheDCNF’s reporting on the matter.
Anderson urged Clarke to fire Awan, but the congresswoman held off until investigators began probing the IT staffer regarding other matters. Clarke did not report the missing computer hardware to House authorities and instead merely wrote off the nearly $120,000 as a loss in February 2016. (RELATED: Dem Chief Of Staff Tried To Expose Suspected Theft Ring On Capitol Hill, Was Met With Resistance)
Awan was eventually banned from the House IT system in 2017 after authorities determined Awan and his brothers — Imran Awan and Jamal Awan, who were also Congressional IT workers — misused Congressional servers and engaged in an elaborate theft scheme.
House ethics rules state that a Member’s Representational Allowance (or MRA) is provided to lawmakers with taxpayer dollars to “support the conduct of official and representational duties to the district from which [they are] elected,” Arnold noted in the enclosure. (RELATED: Trump ‘Disappointed’ DOJ Didn’t Look At Imran Awan Evidence)
Rules dictate that representatives could be held personally responsible if the MRA is misspent. Clarke and other representatives have a responsibility to ensure taxpayer money is not abused. The congresswoman did nothing to prevent the misuse of taxpayer cash, Arnold noted.
“Rep. Clarke and her staff misused roughly 10 percent of her total allowance funded by the taxpayers for equipment unrelated to the official duties of her office in violation of House Ethics Rules,” she said. “Further, once the loss was discovered, Clarke did nothing—she did not take any action to discover what caused the loss, to recover the equipment, or to hold anyone accountable for the loss.”