Wasserman Schultz Avoiding Reporters Since Awan Arrest
WASHINGTON — Embattled Democratic Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has avoided facing any media since her law enforcement arrested her former IT staffer Imran Awan Tuesday on bank fraud charges.
Wasserman Schultz, who walked down the House Capitol steps late Wednesday afternoon following remarks she made on the floor, caught site of The Daily Caller’s reporter and nervously turned around and ran back up the steps with her staffer in tow.
The Miami Herald reported Thursday night that her spokesman told a reporter Wednesday, as she walked to the floor of the House, that she would not answer questions about Awan.
The Florida Democrat has strictly communicated through office spokesman statements on the matter and even those responses appear to be contradictory.
When the story of Awan’s arrest first broke, Wasserman spokesman David Damron released a statement telling media:
“Mr. Awan previously served as a part-time employee but his services have been terminated,” He added, “No charges, evidence or findings from the investigation have been formally shared with our office, so we cannot comment on them.”
However, questions remained as to why Wasserman Schultz kept Awan on her payroll while he was still under investigation by Capitol Hill Police for several months.
Wednesday night, Wasserman Schultz released a statement saying:
“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,” she said. “Upon learning of his arrest, he was terminated.”
TheDC has heard multiple reports from witnesses who say that Wasserman Schultz has appeared despondent and jumpy since Awan’s arrest.
Awan, who was arrested as he attempted to travel to Pakistan on Tuesday at Dulles airport, previously worked as a shared IT employee for Democrats at the U.S. Capitol with other family members until last February when the group was investigated by Capitol Hill Police for breaching security protocols and stealing equipment.
Although Awan and his relatives lost their jobs with Democratic lawmakers, Wasserman Schultz kept him on her payroll until the day of his arrest.
Awan was charged with attempting to defraud Congressional Federal Credit Union by misrepresenting a home equity loan he tried to get through a rental property.
Awan’s wife Hina Alvi, who was charged as a co-conspirator, according to the FBI affidavit, departed the U.S. for Pakistan in March with their children.
According to the affidavit, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol found around $12,000 in cash “household goods, clothing and food items.”
Awan pleaded not guilty to one charge of bank fraud at a Tuesday arraignment at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia 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.