Every one of the 44 House Democrats who hired Pakistan-born IT aides who later allegedly made “unauthorized access” to congressional data appears to have chosen to exempt them from background checks, according to congressional documents.

Background check diagram from House Policy 16

Background check diagram from House Policy 16

All of them appear to have waived background checks on Imran Awan and his family members, even though the family of server administrators could collectively read all the emails and files of 1 in 5 House Democrats, and despite background checks being recommended for such positions, according to an inspector general’s report. The House security policy requires offices to fill out a form attesting that they’ve initiated background checks, but it also includes a loophole allowing them to simply say that another member vouched for them.

Among the red flags in Abid’s background were a $1.1 million bankruptcy; six lawsuits against him or a company he owned; and at least three misdemeanor convictions including for DUI and driving on a suspended license, according to Virginia court records. Public court records show that Imran and Abid operated a car dealership referred to as CIA that took $100,000 from an Iraqi government official who is a fugitive from U.S. authorities. Numerous members of the family were tied to cryptic LLCs such as New Dawn 2001, operated out of Imran’s residence, Virginia corporation records show. Imran was the subject of repeated calls to police by multiple women and had multiple misdemeanor convictions for driving offenses, according to court records.

If a screening had caught those, what officials say happened next might have been averted. The House inspector general reported on Sept. 20, 2016, that shortly before the election members of the group were logging into servers of members they didn’t work for, logging in using congressmen’s personal usernames, uploading data off the House network, and behaving in ways that suggested “nefarious purposes” and that “steps are being taken to conceal their activity.”

A pair of closely-held reports on Imran Awan, his brothers Abid and Jamal, his wife Hina Alvi, and his friend Rao Abbas, said, “the shared employees have not been vetted (e.g. background check).”

“Shared employees” means they were all hired as part-time, individual employees by individual members, cobbling together $165,000 salaries. Jamal began making that salary at only 20 years old, according to House payroll records; Abid never went to college, his stepmother said; and Rao Abbas’ most recent job experience was being fired from McDonald’s, according to his roommate. (“Whether they had formal training or not, they were trained on the job by Imran,” one of Imran’s lawyers said.)

Among the 44 employers, the primary advocate for the suspects has been Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, who introduced a bill Monday that would require background checks on Americans purchasing ammunition. “Without bullets, a gun is just a hunk of useless metal,” she said, calling ammunition the “loophole” in gun control policy.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

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