In the early hours of the morning Wednesday, May 24, 2017, federal prosecutor Beranton J. Whisenant Jr. was found dead on a beach in Miami, Florida, having been murdered in cold blood. According to the Miami Herald, the 37-year-old had just joined the Miami U.S. Attorney’s Office in January, and was assigned to investigate cases of visa and passport fraud.
As Whisenant’s loved ones grieve the loss of an outstanding and promising public servant, a criminal investigation has been initiated to investigate his murder by the Hollywood Police Department. Whisenant’s body was recovered within the parameters of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s district, the disgraced former Democratic National Committee Chairperson who has been the subject of intense public scrutiny for numerous ongoing scandals since her resignation as Chairperson from the DNC last summer.
In addition to the massive class action lawsuit filed against the Florida lawmaker and the DNC seeking damages for Party donors and voters duped by the Party’s fraudulent primary, the DNC faces another lawsuit that exposes the grotesque compensation inequality that was occurring internally within a DNC that gave exorbitant million-dollar bonuses to senior leadership while failing to pay field organizers fairly.
Wasserman Schultz is also implicated in two complex and ongoing criminal scandals. First, recent events have renewed uncertainty around the homicide of Seth Rich, the slain DNC voter-expansion data director and likely leak whose death preceded the release of tens of thousands of incriminating documents that led to Wasserman Schutlz’s resignation as Party Chair. After Fox News announced there is evidence that would connect information on Rich’s laptop to Wikileaks email releases, they issued an ambiguous retraction that did not appear to deny the existence of this evidence, despite retracting the description of what or where this evidence may be held. Since then, internet legend Kim Dotcom has formally volunteered testimony as evidence to confirm Rich did provide these documents to Wikileaks to the Party and Wasserman Schultz’s chagrin.
Secondly, a highly incriminating investigation remains ongoing regarding Wasserman Schultz’s former staffer, Irman Awan, who recently fled the country after a massive security breach in which numerous government devices and the infinite data and documents accessible there were stolen from representatives and high-ranking Democrats. The Daily Caller reports dozens of House Democrats, including many of whom serve on the intelligence, homeland security and foreign affairs committees, employed Awan or a relative working alongside him, despite rarely or never seeing the employees. These rogue employees and current suspects had full access to confidential emails, data, and documents of the members for whom they worked; the focus of this investigation by U.S. Capitol Police revolves around an off-site server on which congressional data was allegedly loaded without the knowledge of authorities.
Should the death of Whisenant, in the impending criminal investigation initiated by local law enforcement, be determined to be retaliatory and linked to Wasserman Schultz, this would have nuclear implications on her culpability in the other lawsuits and investigations surrounding events that have occurred under her purview as DNC chair, senior leadership at the Clinton campaign, and representing Florida’s 23rd district in Congress.
Debbie and The Democrats’ Ongoing Death Spiral
As if the disastrous Citizens United court ruling wasn’t enough to expose a “trust gap” that would be the beginning of the end for the Democratic Party as we know it, Former President Barack Obama would go on to beat the dying horse by seating former Clinton campaign manager Wasserman Schultz as Chair of the DNC in 2011. She would serve until 2016, when she stepped down following the release of the Wikileaks emails potentially transmitted by Rich before his passing. The content of these emails corroborated evidence of the collusion that took place between the Party, the Clinton campaign, pro-Clinton super PACs, establishment media, and other entities to favor a Clinton coronation.
Whisenant’s murder took place one month following a Federal court hearing of oral arguments presented by the Democrats in support of the Motion to Dismiss a class-action lawsuit filed against the Party and Wasserman Schultz originally filed on June 28, 2016. The hearings revealed the Democrats consider themselves too big to jail: despite the guarantee of impartiality assured in the organization’s Charter, the DNC asserted in Court they are bound by no legal obligation to actually run the primary impartially, so they could have favored a candidate (but they didn’t). This slimy and roundly indefensible posturing is consistent with Wasserman Schultz’s public messaging on the subject:
“I will be frank with you — if I was trying to rig the outcome of the primary, trust me, I could have,” Wasserman Schultz told VICE News’ Shawna Thomas just before the election in November, 2016. “There are so many things that we — not I — we could have done to enhance the campaign of one candidate over another.”
While coverage of the damning implications of the lawsuit in mainstream media remains ominously sparse, the revelations exposed a turbulent rift between the decaying corporate media defending the Democrats and a defiant anti-corporate independent media hammering the merits of the lawsuit. With Wasserman Schultz in the focal point of this and every other scandal, the steady release of information on these scandals have accelerated the Democrats’ ongoing death spiral into full-on free-fall.
Where Violations of Visa Rules May Have Occurred
One of these scandals bubbling under the surface was recently catapulted into the spotlight when a video emerged of a visibly shaken Wasserman Schultz threatening the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police with “consequences” for retaining devices that are being held as part of the criminal case against former Pakistani IT staffer Irman Awan described above.
Capitol Police and outside agencies are pursuing Awan after he was banned from the U.S. House’s IT network in February on suspicion of data breaches and theft, and who has since fled to Pakistan where he is currently under government protection. Should the Capitol police or other authorities be investigating Awan’s immigration status while in the United States, this investigation would directly implicate Awan’s U.S. employers, including all representatives and Democratic party leaders responsible for ensuring the appropriate work-authorized visa classifications were secured for Awan and any relatives physically present and employed in the United States as a foreign national.
True Pundit reports that Awan began working for Wasserman Schultz of Florida in 2005, and his wife, his brother’s wife, and two of his brothers all appeared on payrolls of various House Democrats soon after, according to payroll records. Based on visa requirements for professional positions, all foreign nationals would need to possess the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in information technology or similar and be employed in a related professional-level position to qualify for an appropriate work visa. Given the limited availability of visa options and the complexity of the payment arrangements, it is highly unlikely that each each and every suspect not only qualified for work authorization, but also secured it, in order to be properly employed in the United States for the entire duration of their employment. U.S. employers are required to verify the employment eligibility of everyone they hire, so the consequences would fall on the employer, not the employee, if the Awan relatives were employed without proper visa clearance.
Further, it is reported that Awan and his 20-year-old brother Jamal did the majority of the work for various entities, while no-show employees were listed on staff rosters to collect additional $165,000 salaries to circumvent a rule that prevents staffers from making more than members of Congress. In addition to the ethical issues related to this gratuitous compensation, any visa-dependent employees on payroll with a U.S. entity but not performing the approved duties would be in violation of visa rules that require U.S. employers to ensure a bona fide employment agreement and remit compensation for the duties performed.
Based on this information, it is nearly impossible the Awan brothers’ U.S. employers—specifically the Democrats and any technology partners—were maintaining proper immigration status of their foreign employees at all times. Worse, similar visa abuse related to these types of work visas has been subject to renewed scrutiny under the Trump administration, which could to some extent comprise fraud investigations Whisenant may have been conducting. Any fraud that may have occurred, and more so any extent to which any fraud was attempted to be concealed, would be further incriminating to Wasserman Schultz’s employment and management of the Awan brothers and the grave consequences House members face as this scandal unfolds.
While Whisenant could have been investigating a multitude of issues related to visa or passport fraud based out of Miami, Florida, the timing and location of his murder raise questions as to whether or not Whisenant was investigating issues related to Wasserman Schultz’ employment of the Awan brothers. Following the troubling circumstances around the recent deaths of John Ashe, Seth Rich, and Shawn Lucas, and in light of the exposure of massive pay-to-play and bribery scandals incriminating the Department of State and Customs and Border Protection, it is not unreasonable to consider the possibility Whisenant was murdered in retaliation for or in attempt to obstruct ongoing investigations regarding the numerous damning scandals facing the Democratic Party and Wasserman Schultz herself.
At this writing, the murder investigation into Whisenant’s death remains unsolved.
Zach Haller (ZachHaller.com; @zachhaller) is a writer, startup founder, immigration specialist, and fitness instructor. Somewhat ubiquitous on twitter, his satirical commentary and colorful ruling class criticism earned his twitter account over 50 million views in 2016. He is based in Seattle, Washington.