Four former Congressional IT workers have been allowed to evade criminal prosecution, despite illegal probes into confidential information and allegedly fraudulent financial activity, causing Congressional technology aides to wonder whether the lack of Members’ concern is the result of blackmail.
Imran Awan and other members of his family were banned from the congressional network after police came to suspect them of accessing congressional computers illegally. Members of the Pakistani family were given powerful positions and unusually high salaries despite rarely showing up and providing poor quality work when they were there. Despite such suspicious activity, congressional members have displayed steadfast loyalty to the family members, refusing to say anything against them.
“You’d think in the caucus they’d know these guys were working for all of them and they couldn’t possibly support all of them. Someone must have been turning a blind eye,” said a Congressional IT specialist who wished to remain anonymous.
“I don’t know what they have, but they have something on someone. It’s been months at this point” said Pat Sowers, managed IT for Congressional offices for 12 years. “Something is rotten in Denmark.”
According to the Daily Caller:
A House IT employee who requested anonymity said tech workers who have taken over some of those offices found that computers in some — but not all — offices were “thin clients” that sent all data to an offsite server in violation of House policies. Additionally, staffers’ iPhones were all linked to a single non-government iTunes account.
Awan began working for Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida in 2005, and his wife, his brother’s wife, and two of his brothers all appeared on the payrolls of various House Democrats soon after, payroll records show. They have collected $4 million since 2010. For years, it was widely known that Awan, and eventually his 20-year-old brother Jamal, did the bulk of the work for various offices, while no-show employees were listed on members’ staffs in order to collect additional $165,000 salaries, workers said. This circumvented a rule that prevents any one staffer from making more than members of Congress.
The investigation goes far beyond the theft of millions of dollars. The employees could read all emails dozens of members of Congress sent and received, as well as access any files members and their staff stored. Court records show the brothers ran a side business that owed $100,000 to an Iranian fugitive who has been tied to Hezbollah, and their stepmother says they often send money to Pakistan.
A Democratic IT contractor commented to the reaction of Congressional members to the scandal: They “are saying don’t say anything, this will all blow over if we all don’t say anything.” The Awans “had [members] in their pocket,” and “there are a lot of members who could go down over this.”