Stand by your Awan (2)

We’ve been writing about, and seeking to understand, the Awan connection. It is a scandal involving former House IT staffers with ties to Pakistan who are accused of stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network.

Interest in the scandal has been reinforced by the indictment of Imran Awan and his wife last week. Imran Awan had previously been apprehended late last month as he was about to board a flight to Lahore, Pakistan. Until the moment of his arrest, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has stood doggedly by her Awan.

Involving prominent House Democrats, as it does, the mainstream media have left this story to the Daily Caller. Luke Rosiak reports for the Caller:

A chief of staff of Democratic Rep. Yvette Clarke quietly agreed in early 2016 to sign away a $120,000 missing electronics problem on behalf of two former IT aides now suspected of stealing equipment from Congress, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

Clarke’s chief of staff at the time effectively dismissed the loss and prevented it from coming up in future audits by signing a form removing the missing equipment from a House-wide tracking system after one of the Awan brothers alerted the office the equipment was gone. The Pakistani-born brothers are now at the center of an FBI investigation over their IT work with dozens of Congressional offices.

* * * * *

The $120,000 figure amounts to about a tenth of the office’s annual budget, or enough to hire four legislative assistants to handle the concerns of constituents in her New York district. Yet when one of the brothers alerted the office to the massive loss, the chief of staff signed a form that quietly reconciled the missing equipment in the office budget, the official told TheDCNF. Abid Awan remained employed by the office for months after the loss of the equipment was flagged.

Rosiak’s article is overlong underedited (paragraphs five and six are mostly duplicative), but it has more that is suggestive of future developments. In the meantime, the story is fraught with loose ends and open questions.

UPDATE: Andrew McCarthy has much more much more: “There is something very strange going on here” (and not just on the part of the Awans).

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