Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she "did the right thing" by not immediately dismissing an IT staffer after he was banned from the House computer network and fired by other members of Congress.
"I believe that I did the right thing, and I would do it again," Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said Thursday in an interview with the Sun Sentinel. "There are times when you can't be afraid to stand alone and you have to stand up for what's right. It would have been easier for me to just fire him."
Imran Awan was arrested on bank fraud charges by federal officials last week as he was attempting to leave the country for Pakistan. Wasserman Schultz fired Awan after the arrest became public.
The criminal complaint charges that he and his wife conspired to secure a fraudulent loan.
Wasserman Schultz said Awan and his family members lost access to the House IT network because they were under investigation for "procurement violations and data transfer violations."
She suggested Awan was being targeted because he is Muslim.
"I had grave concerns about his due process rights being violated," Wasserman Schultz said. "When their investigation was reviewed with me, I was presented with no evidence of anything that they were being investigated for. And so that in me gave me great concern that his due process rights were being violated. That there were racial and ethnic profiling concerns that I had."
Awan pleaded not guilty to one account of bank fraud at his arraignment last week in Washington, D.C. He was released but will be required to wear a GPS ankle monitor until his preliminary hearing on Aug. 21.