Politics

NRCC Hits Wasserman Schultz for Handling of IT Staffer Scandal

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Wednesday released a new ad titled "Corrupt," which targets Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) for her handling of the scandal involving her now-former IT staffer, Imran Awan.

Schultz has faced backlash in recent weeks for employing Awan, who had been under federal investigation since February for an equipment and data scam in the House; she only fired Awan after he attempted to flee the United States. He was arrested in late July at Dulles Airport in Virginia after trying to fly to his native Pakistan.

The "five-figure ad buy" starts out with a police chase, in which a police car is following another vehicle to an airport.

"July 2017: a congressional aide to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Imran Awan, was arrested trying to flee the country," a narrator says during the police chase scene. "Instead of joining her Democratic colleagues, Schultz waited until after the arrest to fire Awan."

"Imran Awan was later charged with bank fraud and is suspected of exposing sensitive government information," the ad continues. "Rather than admitting to a scandal, Wasserman Schultz blames the arrest on racial profiling and Islamophobia."

The ad then includes audio from Schultz's interview with the Sun Sentinel earlier this month, in which she said, "I believed that I did the right thing and I will do it again."

"Scandals, lies, and corruption. That's Debbie Wasserman Schultz," the narrator concludes.

"As usual, instead of taking responsibility, she made an abundance of excuses and doubled down," NRCC communications director Matt Gorman said in a statement. "As long as Florida has Debbie Wasserman Schultz, they'll have to deal with the scandals that follow her around."

Schultz was forced to resign as chair of the Democratic National Committee last summer after leaked emails revealed she and other Democratic officials tried to sabotage Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I., Vt.) presidential campaign. She was infamously booed by Democratic activists at the pre-convention Florida delegation breakfast in Philadelphia.

Tim Canova, a law professor and Schultz's Democratic primary challenger for the 2018 election, told Fox News last month that her handling of the IT scandal was "disappointing," the Washington Free Beacon reported.

"She waited until the day after he was actually arrested and he had already destroyed a couple of hard drives, so it seems like he was at least trying to hide evidence," Canova said. "At the very least, it shows a lot of poor judgment and I know the voters in my district, they've been speaking with me."

"People are just tired of this. It's one constant drama and scandal after another with her and she's a very divisive figure in the party," Canova added. "The part needs to unify and the voters want to talk about the issues."