Congress is moving forward with a probe into a scandal into staffers working for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who allegedly stole computer equipment from several House lawmakers' offices.
Congressional leaders have asked for a formal briefing by Capitol Police, according to the Free Beacon. The move comes after Imran Awan, a Pakistani who worked for Wasserman Schultz, was arrested last month at Dulles Airport trying to leave the country and charged with bank fraud after an investigation found he wired $300,000 to his home country.
Leading members of Congress are growing frustrated with the pace of the criminal investigation and have moved to conduct their own independent probe into the scandal, according to multiple sources who indicated that the relevant congressional committees are making moves to start an investigation, which could include compelling testimony from Wasserman Schultz, who has been accused of stonewalling on the issue.
As more information about the nature and scope of the IT staffers' collection of privileged congressional information becomes public, lawmakers are seeking to immediately begin their own investigation into the situation.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Oversight Committee and chair of its National Security Subcommittee, formally requested a briefing from the Capitol Police on Tuesday, telling the Free Beacon that the situation amounts to "one of the all-time congressional scandals in the last 30 years."
Other senior congressional sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about the situation described Wasserman Schultz's lack of cooperation in the investigation as unsettling, and said that her continued payments to these staffers even after evidence of their illegal activity became public may merit her resignation.
"I'm pushing very heard to get a full briefing from Capitol Police as soon as possible," DeSantis told the Free Beacon. "There's clearly criminal elements to this and I think there will be more going on. There's probably going to be ethics issues on why these [taxpayer] funds were spent that [Wasserman Schultz] and others will have to deal with."
GOP.com recently laid out the facts of the scandal, including:
- Between 2009 and 2016, more than a dozen House Democrats paid Imran Awan and his family members more than $4 million for House IT services.
- Rep. Wasserman Schultz reportedly fought to keep authorities from examining equipment recovered during the course of the investigation, and later threatened the Capitol Police with consequences if they did not return equipment related to the investigation.
- Despite being briefed by authorities on the nature of these accusations and Awan being banned from the House IT network, Rep. Wasserman Schultz chose to keep him on her staff.