Investigative Group

Democratic IT Aide Says Imran Awan Solicited Bribe From Him In Exchange For Contract With Then-Rep. Gwen Graham

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Luke Rosiak Investigative Reporter
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  • Democratic IT aide Imran Awan solicited a bribe from an IT vendor in exchange for work with then-Rep. Gwen Graham, the vendor said.
  • The Department of Justice knows about the vendor, but hasn’t been contacted.
  • The vendor said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz would encourage newly elected members to hire Imran or his relatives.

Democratic IT aide Imran Awan solicited a bribe from an IT vendor in exchange for contracting opportunities with the office of then-Rep. Gwen Graham, the vendor alleged to The Daily Caller News Foundation, adding that Imran spoke to him in detail about his alleged financial fraud schemes in the House.

The Department of Justice knows of the source — the longtime owner of a major House IT company — and what he is prepared to testify, a high-level official in Jeff Sessions’ DOJ with knowledge of the investigation confirmed. But the vendor said no law enforcement ever even tried to interview them.

Imran worked as an IT aide for the congressional office of Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz before he and various family members began appearing on the payrolls of other members, particularly from Florida. The House Inspector General found that the Awans made “unauthorized access” to congressional computers in 2016, but the House has been extraordinarily mum about why little action has been taken since.

The FBI arrested Imran at Dulles International Airport while attempting to fly to Pakistan in July 2017, but he has been charged only with bank fraud.

“Imran said, ‘There is this new member from Florida named Graham, let’s make a deal and I’ll get you into this office,'” the vendor said. He was clear in his allegation that Imran was soliciting a cash bribe.

“He showed me a letter and I said, ‘Look Imran, I can’t do that, it’s not legal.'” The letter, the vendor said, was a commitment to award a contract.

“And at 8 a.m. the next morning, he had another signed letter rescinding it and said ‘Let’s go with Lockheed instead,'” the vendor told TheDCNF.

“He has that much power,” the vendor continued. “How the hell did he have enough control over a member that by 8 a.m. the member has done his exact bidding? If you were a new member who just got elected don’t you think they’d be like, ‘Well, why are we switching, you told me yesterday the other was better?'”

“I can’t articulate how loyal they were to him,” the source alleged. “I’d say I’d do [tech services] for a quarter of [what members were paying Imran] and they’d say no.”

The vendor provided a variety of other detailed information about Imran that TheDCNF independently corroborated. He told TheDCNF in February 2017 that Imran described to him in detail how the aide falsified invoices — months before others publicly reported the scheme.

The vendor said Imran told him he routinely misstated the value of purchases so they were treated as petty cash and not tracked, which House officials later confirmed.

Payroll records show that when Rep. Gwen Graham, a Democrat, entered office in 2015, she put Imran’s brother, then 21-year-old Jamal Awan, on her payroll at $20,000 a year for part-time work. She also paid Imran $93, but it’s not clear what work he performed– or if the payment simply allowed him access as an employee.

Graham left the House after one term and is now running for governor of Florida.

The IT vendor said Wasserman Shultz would encourage newly elected members to hire Imran or put his relatives on the payroll with the understanding that Imran was the one who would actually do the work –something that, if true, would not be permitted under House rules.

Graham for Governor’s communications director, Matt Harringer, said the decision to go with Lockheed Martin was made before she assumed office in January 2015, and, “While she only learned about the initial accusations after leaving office through media reporting, she believes that if any crimes are found to have been committed, that the perpetrators should be held accountable.”

Yet he and another spokeswoman repeatedly declined to say whether the letters allegedly offering and then abruptly withdrawing the work were authentic or forged by Imran without Graham’s knowledge.

Harringer also did not respond to questions about whether it was Imran or Jamal who did work in the office, who recommended the family, or why they would put one family member on the payroll for only $93.

The vendor said the reason Democrats have been extraordinarily secretive about the Inspector General’s findings about the alleged cybersecurity breach connected to Imran, while being loudly vocal on other cyber breaches, is because they were long aware of dubious activity by Imran.

“They know what they did is wrong, they know what Imran was doing was wrong, and now all of a sudden no one’s ever heard of him,” the vendor told TheDCNF. “But I can’t even count the number of times different members would tell me, ‘Imran’s my man, you wanna get in my office you gotta talk to Imran.'” (RELATED: Rep. Yvette Clarke’s Chief Of Staff Tried To Expose Suspected Theft Ring On Capitol Hill, Was Met With Resistance)

TheDCNF agreed to withhold his name because he relies on Democrats for work and believes that they are actively against policing what he says was fraud.

The vendor, a well-respected professional Democrat, approached TheDCNF only after sending detailed information to The Washington Post in February 2017 but, he said, getting no response. He believes that Imran’s alleged breach is a major national security and public corruption incident and wants to pursue the truth — but no one is asking.

“I really want to see this story through,” he told TheDCNF.

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