The attorney for a prominent Democratic congressional employee at the center of a major criminal investigation has deep ties to the Clinton machine in Washington.
Attorney Chris Gowen is serving as the lawyer for Imran Awan, a Pakistani-American IT professional who was apprehended at Dulles Airport this week as he reportedly attempted to leave the country for Pakistan.
Awan has been charged with bank fraud (which the Daily Caller reports as a potential “placeholder” charge for much more serious coming charges), and the FBI has been deeply involved in the process, leading some to suspect that there may be a foreign espionage component to the investigation. As an IT staffer, Awan secured highly sensitive information from several members of Congress, including representatives in the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees. Imran Awan is just one of the individuals in a criminal probe. Other suspects in the investigation reportedly fled to Pakistan.
After Awan’s arrest, Gowen immediately jumped into the fray, alleging that Awan was a victim of Islamophobia. He labeled Awan’s arrest as part of “a right-wing media-driven prosecution by a United States Attorney’s Office that wants to prosecute people for working while Muslim.”
His statement displays a remarkably similar tone to the one often promulgated by his former boss, Hillary Clinton, who often spoke of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” to undermine her family and her leftist ideals.
Gowen’s past includes several stints in the Clinton machine’s orbit. He began his legal life as a public defender but left that job for the Bill Clinton White House. At the time, he also worked for then-Senator Hillary Clinton. Years later, he jumped on board Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, directing advance operations there, according to his biography from his law firm, Gowen Rhoades Winograd & Silva, PLLC. In another bio page, Gowen states he has consulted with former Democratic presidential contenders John Kerry and John Edwards.
Another biography, from American University, says Gowen worked with several controversial Clinton projects, including The Clinton Global Initiative, The Clinton Foundation, and The Clinton Health Access Initiative.
In 2012, Gowen went to bat for Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, whose family is deeply connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. After GOP reps explored Abedin’s nefarious ties, Gowen pledged to “stand with Huma.”
Along with his private practice, the longtime Clinton aide is also an adjunct professor at American University Washington College of Law, where he teaches courses in legal ethics and law practice management.
Gowen’s Clinton connections are intriguing on another level, given that Awan’s employer in the House, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, remains a close Clinton confidant. The former Democratic National Committee chair resigned from her position after emails surfaced alleging she attempted to tip the scales of the Democratic primary in Clinton’s favor. Wasserman Schultz was also the 2008 campaign co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s first failed run for president.
It remains unclear at this time how Imran Awan managed to link up with Gowen and retain his services.
A preliminary hearing for Mr. Awan is scheduled for August 21.
Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.