House Dems Paid $4 Million to Pakistani IT Professionals Now Under Criminal Investigation


Debbie Wasserman Schultz / AP
March 2, 2017

Dozens of House Democrats have collectively paid $4 million since 2009 to Pakistani IT professionals now under criminal investigation who had access to House members' email and computer files.

Capitol Police is investigating whether five members of the Awan family from Pakistan engaged in criminal activity, including theft, as computer administrators for dozens of House Democrats, some of whom serve on the intelligence, homeland security, and foreign affairs committees.

Democratic members from multiple committees "were inexplicably paying" the suspects who "they rarely or never saw," the Daily Caller News Foundation reported Wednesday.

The suspects–brothers Imran, Abid, and Jamal, and two of their wives, Hina Alvi and Natalia Sova–had full access to the lawmakers' email and computer files for whom they worked and are part of a criminal theft and cyber security investigation.

The House members who paid the most to the Awans included Democratic Reps. Marcia Fudge (Ohio), Tim Ryan (Ohio), Jim Costa (Calif.), and former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.).

Awan family members received outsized salaries in comparison to their colleagues working on Capitol Hill, raking in $5 million collectively since 2003. Imran Awan, for example, received $1.2 million in salary since 2010, while legislative assistants on Capitol Hill receive a median annual salary of $43,000.

Capitol Police is also looking into an off-site server that authorities did not know about but housed congressional data.

Brothers Iman and Abid Awan operated a Northern Virginia car dealership and reportedly received a $100,000 loan from a doctor and former Iraqi politician with ties to Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, and "spent significant time in Pakistan," according to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Some House Democrats reportedly fired the Awans after meeting with investigators. It is unclear how many lawmakers did so.

UPDATE Mach 3, 1:22 P.M.: This post was updated to correct the spelling of Rep. Jim Costa's name. The original version of this story printed his name as Jim Acosta.