Florida Judge Finds ‘Unlawful’ Ballot Destruction In Former DNC Head Debbie Wasserman Schultz Primary Race

Richard DrewAP Images

Voters probably remember U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz from the 2016 presidential election. Wasserman Schultz was the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 23rd congressional district, and before she was forced to resign in disgrace after the 2016 Democrat National Convention, she was also the chairperson of the Democratic National Committee.

While she still holds her seat in Congress, Wasserman Schultz fell from grace when WikiLeaks revealed her involvement in the DNC’s behind-the-scenes support for Hillary Clinton during the primaries and their attacks on Clinton’s opponents. Since the DNC was required to remain neutral until a candidate won the nomination, the documents released by WikiLeaks were quite problematic.

At the time, the Washington Post reported that Wasserman Schultz had refused to resign, and it took a phone call from President Obama to convince her to step down. Rep. Wasserman Schultz was allowed to wait until the end of the convention, and she officially resigned as head of the DNC on July 28, 2016.

DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz speaks during a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.Featured image credit: Mary AltafferAP Images

Wasserman Schultz was also involved in the still-unresolved House IT scandal. Imran Awan, along with three of his relatives and two of his friends, served as the information technologist for Wasserman Schultz and 25 other Democrat members of Congress. According to an article in The Hill, Awan and his associates were able to avoid background checks before they were granted access to congressional servers and Democrat members’ electronic devices.

“According to congressional documents, the House Democrats clownishly exploited a loophole in hiring procedures that exempts potential hires from background checks if another member of Congress vouches for them. This allowed individuals with questionable backgrounds, such as Imran Awan and his brothers, Abid Awan and Jamal Awan, into the ranks of the House of Representatives staff.”

On August 17, 2017, Awan, who earned $165,000 per year in his tax-payer funded job, and his wife, Hina Alvi Awan, were both indicted in federal court on four counts, including conspiracy, making false statements, bank fraud, and unlawful monetary transactions. His wife fled with her three children to Pakistan, where Imran had already wired $238,000, and it is feared she may not return to the United States for her trial

Two of Imran’s brothers had criminal records, but they were still allowed access to the Congressional servers and member devices. A massive amount of congressional data was transferred to thumb drives and outside servers by Awan and his associates, but Wasserman Schultz continued to defend him, and she claimed the Republicans were only talking about the IT scandal to divert attention from the investigation into President Trump’s alleged collusion with the Russians. Despite months of allegations, Imran Awan remained on Wasserman Schultz’s payroll until July 25, 2017, when he was finally fired.

The 2018 mid-terms are looming on the horizon, and bad news continues to follow the troubled Congresswoman. On Friday, May 11, 2018, Broward Circuit Judge Raag Singhal ruled that Broward County Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes broke state and federal election laws by destroying the paper ballots needed for a recount in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s 2016 Democrat primary.

Broward County, Fla. election officials Jerry Pollock, left, Mayor Ilene Lieberman and Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes examine ballots.Featured image credit: J.Pat CarterAP Images

The fuss began when Tim Canova, a law professor who ran against Wasserman Schultz in the 2016 Democrat primary, was alerted to possible voting irregularities, and he filed a public records request to inspect the ballots. Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes asked him to pay $71,868.87 to prepare the documents, and as a result, Canova filed a lawsuit for the records.

Dr. Snipes illegally destroyed the paper ballots, according to the ruling by Judge Singhal, and Canova’s lawyer said the state’s attorney should investigate the case for possible criminal sanctions. Wasserman Schultz has not been accused of any involvement in the destruction of the ballots, but Mr. Canova was concerned about voting irregularities in the primary.

Tim Canova plans to oppose Wasserman Schultz again in the 2018 mid-term elections when he will run as an Independent. As reported by Politico, Florida Governor Rick Scott is aware of the ruling against Broward County Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes, and his office released a statement revealing plans to monitor Supervisor Snipes’ office in the next election for Wasserman Schultz’s House seat.

“During the upcoming election, the Department of State will send a Florida elections expert from the Division of Elections to Supervisor Snipes’ office to ensure that all laws are followed so the citizens of Broward County can have the efficient, properly run election they deserve.”