After Stalling for Months, Wasserman Schultz to Cooperate With Investigators on IT Probe

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schulz / Getty Images

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Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) is expected to finally allow U.S. Capitol Police to access her laptop to investigate a cyber security case connected to several House Democrats' IT contractors.

After months of apparent stonewalling, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee is going to cooperate with investigators looking into a case involving allegations of computer theft, over-billing, and email hacking, Fox News reported Wednesday.

Capitol Police is investigating whether at least five IT contractors who worked for dozens of House Democrats, including Wasserman Schultz, took hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of computer equipment and potentially hacked into the lawmakers' email accounts.

Wasserman Schultz is not suspected of wrongdoing, but for months she stopped law enforcement from accessing her laptop as part of the probe. It is unclear why the Florida congresswoman battled with law enforcement over the computer until this week, when her counsel began negotiating with Capitol Police regarding the probe.

Wasserman Schultz has faced problems with cyber security issues before; she lost her position atop the Democratic Party when damaging information came out of the breach into DNC computer servers during the 2016 presidential campaign. WikiLeaks published a trove of DNC emails that appeared to show the party under her leadership favoring Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary, rather than remaining neutral.

This separate probe focuses on "the actions of House IT support staff," Capitol Police told Fox News, but Wasserman Schultz and Democrats have still resisted law enforcement attempts to investigate.

Fox News' sources say that the IT workers are suspected of having "unauthorized access" to the House computer system. They are also suspected of a procurement scam wherein they overcharged House members for computer equipment, as well as other suspicious activities covered by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

In addition to stonewalling about the laptop, Democrats stood by the IT contractors and said that they are under suspicion because of their Pakistani heritage. Fox reports that official documents reveal that five contractors and six people could be involved.

Imran Awan is one of the contractors, and his work for House Democrats goes back at least to 2005. Wasserman Schultz kept him on her payroll for a month even after he was denied access to the House's computer network.

Imran's brother, Abid Awan, is also implicated in the probe. He made a six-figure salary but has still run into financial problems, declaring bankruptcy in 2012.

Wasserman Schultz was able to stop investigators from accessing her computer because she was not the one under investigation. Capitol Police have held the laptop, but now they will be able to scan it for evidence.

Paul Crookston

Paul Crookston   Email Paul | Full Bio | RSS
Paul Crookston is a media analyst with the Washington Free Beacon. He was previously a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review. A 2016 graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., he served as the managing editor of the Tartan campus newspaper. He is originally from Tampa, Fla., but he still roots for Dad’s Ohio teams. His Twitter handle is @P_Crookston. He can be reached at crookston@freebeacon.com.

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