Indictments and allegations are piling up concerning the information technology specialist that was used in the offices of several different House Democrats, and an IT specialist running to unseat a congressional Democrat suspects there is a lot more that will emerge in this case.
Imran Awan was arrested at Dulles International Airport last month while allegedly trying to leave the country. Other family members have already left and appear to have no intention of returning. At the time of his arrest, Awan, native of Pakistan, was charged with one count of bank fraud.
But the list of indictments is growing. He is now staring at a four-count indictment, including conspiracy and making false statements. His wife is also now indicted.
Critics are not just concerned that Awan and other family members worked on Capitol Hill but the details are also unnerving.
“He was working for several members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Those members seem to have been paying him maybe two to three times what typical IT staffers should be making on the Hill. That in itself is a very interesting situation,” said Jeff Dove, a U.S. Army veteran, an IT specialist and a candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 11th congressional district.
Records show that members of the Awan family raked in roughly four million dollars for providing IT services on Capitol Hill, and Dove says some of them had no qualifications to be there.
“Those people that were working with him didn’t necessarily have the skills to be accessing those computers that they had access to,” said Dove. “So there are a lot of questions that need to be answered about what they were doing and what they had access to at the time.”
Dove is also very concerned about what the Awans got their hands on given the work of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“If they had access to so many members’ information, that means they would have access to any memos or any communications between the entire committee,” said Dove.
While no indictments are in place alleging mishandling classified information, there are reports that FBI investigators are looking in that direction.
While other members of Congress cut ties with Awan and his family prior to his arrest, Wasserman Schultz still had him on staff until the day after he was taken into custody. Dove says that raises even more questions.
“He had access to stuff on the Hill. They took his access away, yet he was still getting paid for his services. What were his services after he no longer had access to that information?” asked Dove, who also says the length of the FBI probe suggests there’s plenty of fire to go along with the smoke in this case.
“I believe the investigation started either in 2015 or 2016, so this has been going on for quite some time. For this investigation to be going on for so long, they have to have found something to keep going on with this investigation,” said Dove, noting evidence of destroyed hard drives on Awan’s property in Virginia.
Dove is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge five-term Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Virginia. While Connolly is on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he did not hire Awan to do IT work in his office. Nonetheless, Dove says Connolly’s arrogance in condemning Awan speaks volumes.
“He’s not thinking about the people anymore. He’s become complacent. He even said in an interview recently, where he was talking about the IT scandal with ABC News, that the offices of Congress are ‘princely courts.’ He’s become so complacent that he feels he’s somewhat of a monarch now,” said Dove.
Dove says his path to a congressional run started on Election Day in 2016.
“When I went to the ballot box, on one side of the ballot I saw the presidential election, and on the other side of the ballot I saw one man’s name and that was Gerry Connolly. How in the world did this happen in a democracy where we only had one person running in a congressional district,” said Dove.
After remembering his mother’s words that anyone who wants to see change needs to step up and do it, Dove says his candidacy took bloom.
“I’ve had this need to serve people my entire life. That’s part of the reason why I joined the military. That’s why I’m continuing this quest to try and unseat Connolly, who is someone who’s been entrenched in D.C. for a very long time,” said Dove.
What kind of congressman would Dove be? He says getting the most out of taxpayer dollars and targeting abuse and waste would high on his priority list.
“I want to see more accountability, not in one of the agencies people talk about all the time, which is Veterans Affairs and that is very close to my heart, but every agency should have to prove out every year that they’re meeting what they set out to do as their mission on a yearly basis in order to get the money that should be allocated to them,” said Dove.
“He says eliminating waste is the best way to drain the proverbial swamp.
“Getting rid of the outside influencers is key to being able to move forward with legislation that will actually benefit the people. I believe you have to get people who are really motivated to work for the people in office to help the people,” said Dove. “And I’m one of those people.”