Corruption, crime, and clumsy cover-up in the Democratic Party 1

First, Mark Steyn’s comments on the case:

Next, Andrew C. McCarthy writes at National Review:

There  is a very intriguing investigation of the Awan family. There are about six of them — brothers, spouses, and attached others — who were retained by various Democrats as computer-systems managers at compensation levels dwarfing that of the average congressional staffer. The Awans fell under suspicion in late 2016 and were canned at the beginning of February, on suspicion of mishandling the sensitive information to which they’d had access: scanning members’ e-mail, transferring files to remote servers under the Awans’ control, stealing computer equipment and hard drives (some of which they attempted to destroy when they were found out), along with a sideline in procurement fraud.

The hard drives were hammered to destroy them of course, just as Hillary Clinton’s were (according to the FBI).  Hammered! Every blow declares a great fear of what might be found on them.

Which is?

What else but proof of crimes committed by their owners and associates?

We should say that almost all of them were canned. Hina Alvi and her husband, Imran Awan, stayed on, even though they were no longer authorized to have access to the House computer system (i.e., to do the work they were hired to do). Alvi continued to be retained by Congressman Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat, for another four weeks. During that time, we now know, she was tying up loose financial ends, packing her house up, and pulling three young daughters out of school — just before skedaddling to Pakistan.

What Imran Awan was arrested for (on Monday, July 24, 2017), and what he and his wife are openly suspected of, is a scam to cheat a federal credit union out of some  $300,000. They made “several false statements about their qualifications for a credit line and their intended use of the money”. McCarthy thinks that “the strongest part of [the] case … involves the schemers’ transferring the loot to their native Pakistan”. This however was not mentioned in the indictment.

Why?

And questions as to why proliferate as more of the story unfolds:

Awan was kept on the payroll for about six more months by Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat, former Democratic National Committee chairwoman, and Clinton insider. She finally fired him only after he was arrested at the airport right before a scheduled flight to Qatar, from whence he planned to join Alvi in Pakistan.

Why?

There are grounds to suspect blackmail, given (a) the staggering sums of money paid to the Awans over the years, (b) the sensitive congressional communications to which they had access, (c) the alleged involvement of Imran Awan and one of his brothers in a blackmail-extortion scheme against their stepmother, and (d) Wasserman Schultz’s months of protecting Awan and potentially impeding the investigation. There are also, of course, questions about stolen information.

And why

Why did the FBI and the Capitol Police allow Hina Alvi to leave the country on March 5 when there were grounds to arrest her at Dulles Airport? Why did they wait to charge her until last week — by which time she was safely in Pakistan, from which it will likely be impossible to extradite her for prosecution? What, moreover, about Awan’s brothers and other apparent accomplices? What has become of them since they were fired by the House almost seven months ago?

Imran Awan’s sudden arrest in late July meant the Justice Department would finally have to file formal charges in court. Thus, there was hope that we’d finally get some answers. Instead, the indictment raises still more questions.

Why, why, why?

To begin with, it is not the easiest thing to get one’s hands on the indictment. The case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. There is no press release about the indictment on the office’s website, though U.S. attorneys’ offices routinely issue press releases and make charging documents available in cases of far less national prominence. (I found the indictment through the Orlando Sentinel, which obtained and posted it in conjunction with the paper’s report on the filing of charges.)

By the way, the U.S. attorney’s office is currently led by Channing D. Phillips, an Obama holdover who was never confirmed. Still awaiting Senate confirmation is Jessie Liu, nominated by President Trump in June. …

And here comes the big one, underplayed …

Steven Wasserman, Representative Wasserman Schultz’s brother, has been an assistant U.S. attorney in the office for many years. I have seen no indication that he has any formal role in the case [emphasis added – ed]  …

What is clear, however, is that the office is low-keying the Awan prosecution.

But why?

The indictment itself is drawn very narrowly. All four charges flow from a financial-fraud conspiracy of short duration. Only Imran Awan and his wife are named as defendants. There is no reference to Awan-family perfidy in connection with the House communications system.

Why not?

More bizarre still: There is not a word about Alvi’s flight to Pakistan, nor Imran Awan’s failed attempt to follow her there. This is not an oversight. The omission appears quite intentional.

It is common Justice Department practice, in pleading a conspiracy indictment, to allege that the scheme began “on or about” its starting date and continued “up to and including the date of the filing of this indictment”. Strictly speaking, a conspiracy ends when the crime that is its objective has been completed. But there is no requirement that a specific end date be set forth in the indictment. Therefore, prosecutors go as long as they can — i.e., right up to the date the grand jury voted to indict — to give themselves the widest berth possible to argue that evidence damaging to the defense is relevant and admissible. But that is not what happened in the Awan indictment.

The Justice Department alleges that the conspiracy took place “from on or about December 12, 2016 through on or about February 27, 201″. February 27 was six days before Alvi fled and five months before Awan was arrested trying to leave the country. This makes no sense. Indeed, it does not even make sense in the context of the narrow scheme prosecutors have charged: Although the indictment says the conspiracy ended on February 27, it alleges a relevant $83,000 interbank transfer occurred on February 28 (see indictment, paragraphs 8 and 22). That is, prosecutors assert that a money transfer supposedly in furtherance of the conspiracy happened a day after the conspiracy was already over. That is surely just a mistake — anybody can screw up a date.

There is, by contrast, no apparent explanation for omitting from a fraudulent cash-transfer prosecution the fact that the conspirators undertook to transfer themselves to the foreign country where they’d sent the money. Why would prosecutors leave that out of their indictment? Why give Awan’s defense a basis to claim that, since the indictment does not allege anything about flight to Pakistan, the court should bar any mention of it during the trial? In fact, quite apart from the manifest case-related reasons to plead instances of flight, a competent prosecutor would have included them in the indictment simply to underscore that Awan is a flight risk who should have onerous bail conditions or even be detained pretrial.

We must also ask, again: Why did the FBI allow Alvi to flee? Before she boarded her March 5 flight to Qatar (en route to Pakistan), agents briefly detained her. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents had already searched her baggage and found $12,400 in cash. As I have pointed out, it is a felony to move more than $10,000 in U.S. currency out of the country unless one completes the required government report … There was no indication that she did so in the complaint affidavit submitted to the court when Awan was arrested last month.

By the time Alvi fled, the Awans had been under investigation by various federal agencies for at least three months.

The FBI was sufficiently attuned to the Awans’ criminality that its agents went to the trouble of chasing Alvi to the airport.

If she didn’t fill out the required form, she should have been arrested for the currency violation. Is it possible that, rather than arresting her, federal agents instructed her to complete the form on the spot? One would hope not, but even in such an unlikely event, Alvi would undoubtedly have made false statements about the provenance of the cash. That would also have been a felony, providing more grounds for her arrest.

Why let her go, especially when, as its agent told the court in the aforementioned affidavit, the FBI “does not believe that Alvi has any intention to return to the United States”?

Why again and again.

More bizarre: Why not include Alvi’s flight — as well as Awan’s later attempt to go on the lam — in describing the money-transfer scheme charged in the indictment? Patently, these episodes are damning proof of fraudulent intent, which prosecutors must establish at trial if they are to convict Awan. Did prosecutors fail to mention the flight evidence in hope of diverting attention from the government’s decision to let Alvi flee? Again, one would hope not, but if not, what could the explanation be?

To summarize, the indictment is an exercise in omission.

Nothing about Wasserman Schultz’s energetic efforts to prevent investigators from examining Awan’s laptop. A likely currency-transportation offense against Alvi goes uncharged. And, as for the offenses that are charged, prosecutors plead them in a manner that avoids any reference to what should be their best evidence.

There is something very strange going on here.

Something strange? No. Something nasty and disgraceful, but not strange. Nasty and disgraceful is business as usual in the Democratic Party.

House Democrats have cause to fear blackmail 1

Yet more criminals in the Democratic Party and their employees are getting away free as air.

Luke Rosiak reports at The Daily Caller:

Five members of a Pakistani family under criminal investigation for allegedly misusing their positions as computer administrators for dozens of Democrats in the House of Representatives were paid at least $4 million from July 2009 to the present, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.

Evidence suggests some of the dozens of House Democrats — many of whom serve on the intelligence, homeland security and foreign affairs committees — who employed the suspects were inexplicably paying people they rarely or never saw. See the interactive graphic at the end of this story for the names of the employing representatives.

The suspects had full access to the emails and office computer files of the members for whom they worked.  A focus of the investigation by the U.S. Capitol Police is an off-site server on which congressional data was allegedly loaded without the knowledge of authorities.

Even before Capitol Police told chiefs of staff for the employing Democrats Feb. 2 that the Awans — including brothers Imran, Abid and Jamal, and two of their wives, Hina Alvi and Natalia Sova — were suspects in a criminal theft and cybersecurity probe, there were multiple signs that something was amiss.

For example, four of the 500 highest-paid House staffers are suspects, according to the DCNF’s analysis of payroll records. There are more than 15,000 congressional staff employees with an average age of 31, according to Legistorm.

Top slots on Capitol Hill are subject to fierce competition, and for most employees, the hours are long and job security is nonexistent. The median salary for legislative assistants is $43,000 annually, according to InsideGov.com.

Imran Awan has collected $1.2 million in salary since 2010, and his brother Abid and wife Hina Alvi were each paid more than $1 million.

Imran first came to Capitol Hill in the early 2000s and Abid joined him in 2005. Imran’s wife Hina Alvi was added to the payroll in 2007, while Abid’s wife, Natalia Sova, appeared in 2011. Finally, in 2014 the youngest sibling, Jamal, joined the payroll in 2014 at the age of 20 with a salary of $160,000.

“In Imran’s wife’s offices, she didn’t show up or rarely showed up and Imran would handle it,” a former House staffer with direct knowledge of the brothers told TheDCNF. “Once in a while he would take her around to the offices but after a while he stopped even putting up the illusion and did all that stuff himself.”

The former staffer said “Jamal was always there,” but Imran would only work “odd hours.”

Since 2003, the family has collected $5 million overall, with Imran making $2 million and Abid making $1.5 million, according to Legistorm.com, which tracks congressional staff data. Of some 25,000 people who have worked in the House since 2010, only 100 have taken home more than Imran.

As “shared” employees, their salaries were cobbled together with part-time payments from multiple members, with a result that the Awans appeared at one time or another on an estimated 80 House Democrats’ payrolls.

Yet the brothers spent significant time in Pakistan, TheDCNF was told. They even had time beginning in 2009 to operate a Northern Virginia car dealership, with Abid as its day-to-day manager. The dealership received a $100,000 loan that was never repaid from Dr. Ali Al-Attar, a onetime Iraqi politician who fled the U.S. on tax charges and who reportedly has links to the terrorist group Hezbollah.

Among the House Democrats employing the Awans was Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former Democratic National Committee Chairman whose tenure there was marked by a disastrous email hack that she blamed on the Russians.

Some of the House Democrats terminated the suspects on their payrolls following the meeting with investigators, but it’s uncertain how many have done so.

Court documents show that Imran was flush with enough cash to loan $30,000 to a friend. Yet Abid declared bankruptcy in 2012, discharging debts to others while keeping retaining ownership of two houses.

The “interactive graphic” follows which lists the Democrats who paid the Awans.

The media in general have not considered the story worth reporting. But here are the headlines of other articles in the Daily Caller on this subject.  [Go here for the links.]

House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs Committee Members Compromised By Rogue IT Staff

Brothers Had Massive Debts, Years Of Suspicious Activity

…Secretly Took $100K In Iraqi Money

…Owed Money To Hezbollah-Connected Fugitive

Received $4 Million From Dem Reps

…Allegedly Kept Stepmom In ‘Captivity’ To Access Offshore Cash

…Also Had Access To DNC Emails…Could Read Every Email Dozens Of Congressmen Sent And Received

Paul Ryan: Capitol Police Getting ‘Assistance’ On Criminal Investigation

Read the Court Docs Detailing Greed, Ruthlessness of Democratic IT Guy

House IT Aides Fear Suspects In Hill Breach Are Blackmailing Members With Their Own Data

Suspect Has Fled To Pakistan, Relative Says

Since news of their criminal activity became public knowledge despite House Democrats trying to cover it up, the Awans have fled to Pakistan.

Here is the report headlined:  House IT Aides Fear Suspects In Hill Breach Are Blackmailing Members With Their Own Data

Again Luke Rosiak reports:

Congressional technology aides are baffled that data-theft allegations against four former House IT workers — who were banned from the congressional network — have largely been ignored, and they fear the integrity of sensitive high-level information.

Imran Awan and three relatives were colleagues until police banned them from computer networks at the House of Representatives after suspicion the brothers accessed congressional computers without permission.

Five Capitol Hill technology aides told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group that [Democratic] members of Congress have displayed an inexplicable and intense loyalty towards the suspects who police say victimized them. The baffled aides wonder if the suspects are blackmailing representatives based on the contents of their emails and files, to which they had full access.

A manager at a tech-services company that works with Democratic House offices said he approached congressional offices, offering their services at one-fourth the price of Awan and his Pakistani brothers, but the members declined. At the time, he couldn’t understand why his offers were rejected but now he suspects the Awans exerted some type of leverage over members.

“There’s no question about it: If I was accused of a tenth of what these guys are accused of, they’d take me out in handcuffs that same day, and I’d never work again,” he said.

The Awans’ ban sent 20 members searching for new IT workers, but another contractor claims he’s had difficulty convincing offices to let him fill the void, even when he seemed like a shoo-in. He says he has the sense some members wrongly believed that he blew the whistle on the Awans’ theft and they were angry at him for it.

Politico reported the Awan crew is “accused of stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network”. 

A House IT employee who requested anonymity said tech workers who have taken over some of those offices found that computers … sent all data to an offsite server in violation of House policies. Additionally, staffers’ iPhones were all linked to a single non-government iTunes account.

Awan began working for Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida in 2005, and his wife, his brother’s wife, and two of his brothers all appeared on the payrolls of various House Democrats soon after, payroll records show. They have collected $4 million since 2010.

For years, it was widely known that Awan, and eventually his 20-year-old brother Jamal, did the bulk of the work for various offices, while no-show employees were listed on members’ staffs in order to collect additional $165,000 salaries, workers said. This circumvented a rule that prevents any one staffer from making more than members of Congress.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the corrupt former chairperson on the DNC, wants her computer back. The police want to keep it while they investigate the crimes of the Awan family.  She must fear that they will find something on it that could incriminate her.

Here is the video record of her threatening the police with “consequences” if they do not return her “equipment”. The relevant altercation begins at the 3 minute mark: