Rep. Jackie Speier is testifying as an advocate against sexual harassment at a congressional hearing Tuesday, and she has received positive news coverage in The New York Times and in The Washington Post for saying that combatting sexual harassment in the workplace is about actions, not words.
But the California Democrat employed a staffer who has been accused of abuse by four different women in the last two years, either in police reports or lawsuits. She has not offered any words on the situation, and her spokesperson Tracy Manzer has given no response to multiple requests for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation over the last two months.
The staffer, Imran Awan, is facing a lawsuit from his own wife, Hina Alvi, who said he “furiously” threatened her with “dire consequences” and threatened the lives of her loved ones. Alvi and Awan worked together in Speier’s office. The congresswoman employed Alvi for a decade, and also paid her husband Awan over the last two years. However, Speier has declined to criticize Awan.
In the lawsuit, Alvi objected to discovering that Awan simultaneously had a second wife, Sumaira Siddique. In a police report, Siddique said she felt not like a wife, but like a slave.
Siddique called Fairfax County, Va., police in July 2016 and said “her boyfriend treat her bad and keep her there like a slave,” according to a police report. She “wants him out of her life. Ms. Siddiqui wanted info on how to obtain a restraining order against him,” the report said. It was not the first time she called police on Awan; a few months prior, she called police, who responded and observed a “cut on [her] stomach and arm.”
Alvi’s lawsuit, filed in their native Pakistan, said, “He [Awan] further said furiously that the complainant has no right or power to restrain him from second and even third marriage.” Indeed, a third woman, Salam Chaudhry, who lived in the same apartment complex as Siddiqui and was apparently having a relationship with Awan, also called police on the Democratic staffer in December 2015.
Salam Chaudhry said “Imran Awan was not supposed to live there and she wanted him to leave,” according to the police report. It reads further:
It appeared that the two people were in a romantic relationship. Ms Salam had a cut on her stomach and arm that she said happened when she was doing dishes. Ms. Salam said she just wanted to leave and go to a shelter as she has no money. Ms. Salam has two children that were both at the residence both under the age of 8. I asked Ms. Salam why she was crying and calling police. Ms. Salam insisted nothing happened but that she wanted to leave. I went and spoke to Mr. Awan who quickly advised that he wanted to speak with a lawyer. I asked him about the small amount of dried blood that appeared to be on his left hand. He stated that it was from when his “roommate” was getting the phone from him. … After he left I stayed and spoke with Ms. Salam about getting a protective order.
A fourth woman, Awan’s stepmother Samina Gilani, said Awan kept her “captive” in her house, monitoring her with electronic devices. A lawsuit (page 22) says:
Imran Awan showed up and threatened me for calling the police. Mr Shahid Imran Awan threatened that he is very powerful and if I ever call the police against Mr Shahid Imran Awan will do harm to me and my family embers back in Pakistan and one of my cousins here in Baltimore. Mr Shahid Imran Awan threatened that he has power to kidnap my family members back in Pakistan. Shahid Imran Awan did admit to me that my phone is taped and there are devices installed in my house to listen my all conversations … Imran Awan introduces himself someone from US congress or someone from Federal Agencies … In Pakistan Mr Shahid Imran Awan manages to have police mobile based on his position in US congress of Federal Agencies to escort him during his visit to Pakistan.
In October, Speier told The Washington Post that members of Congress need to be held more accountable on issues of sexual harassment. “It’s an embarrassment, and we’ve got to fix it,” she said.
Awan and Alvi were banned from the House network in February after investigators said the couple — and other relatives who were also on the payroll of other Democrats — logged into congressional servers without authorization thousands of times. Speier is on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Awan could have read her emails. Speier fired the couple when they could no longer perform their duties as IT aides, but she has expressed little concern about the access Awan had to her data.
Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, who also employed both Awan and his wife, resisted firing him until after he was arrested in what prosecutors said was an attempt to flee to Pakistan. Wasserman Schultz said that “as a mother, a Jew and a member of Congress,” she wanted to defend Awan’s rights as a Muslim while under police investigation into the cybersecurity issue.
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