Original Article By Anna Giaritelli At WashingtonExaminer.com:

A senior official who handled immigration policy on Resident Joe Biden’s transition team was caught on video bragging about how he used the border crisis to help unqualified organizations secure billions of dollars in noncompete federal contracts to detain immigrant children and adults.

“It’s been a boom for my business,” said Andrew Lorenzen-Strait during one of several recorded conversations with Project Veritas, a conservative nonprofit group.

Lorenzen-Strait was a child welfare attorney who once oversaw detention at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement before taking top slots in Biden’s Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services transition teams.

Lorenzen-Strait pivoted from his transition team gigs to brokering deals for immigrant shelters the day Biden took office in January 2021, right as the White House overhauled border policy and consequently saw the highest number of unaccompanied children come across from Mexico than at any other time in U.S. history. Since then, an unprecedented 300,000 unaccompanied minors have been apprehended at the southern border, which Lorenzen-Strait joked on the secret recordings has kept him busy.

Lorenzen-Strait was privy to the Biden administration’s forthcoming changes to immigration policy as a transition team member.

In early 2021, Lorenzen-Strait secured two major deals for DHS and HHS to detain immigrant families and children in hotels and other buildings, respectively. The Washington Examiner was the first to expose the DHS deal, an $87 million contract to San Antonio-based nonprofit group Endeavors. Days later, HHS signed a $530 million deal with Endeavors.

Endeavors had never received even a seven-figure contract nor sheltered immigrants and has been awarded $2.1 billion from the Biden administration since 2021.

Lorenzen-Strait pivoted from Endeavors as congressional Republicans launched investigations into the Endeavors deals and federal officials outside Congress launched their own reviews. He bragged on camera about having created his own firm, Deep Water Point, that he said he allowed Republicans to believe was his only operation despite running two other entities that were quietly shoring up backdoor deals.

“They think I’m just sitting there in this giant company just opining and out of the game of trying to change the immigration system,” Lorenzen-Strait said in one of the videos after being asked about ICE barring him from working on any of its contracts.

“But you’re not?” asked an undercover Project Veritas staffer who did not explain how he coaxed Lorenzen-Strait into multiple meetings.

“I’m not,” Lorenzen-Strait said. “The current administration’s basically outsourcing interior care. And they’re not doing any of the things they proposed like FEMA reimbursements.”

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) was the first lawmaker in Congress to draw attention to the backdoor dealings and said the new revelations were troubling.

“The nefarious greediness and behavior exposed in Project Veritas’s video is incredibly disturbing and warrants congressional oversight,” Clyde said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. “It’s apparent that Andrew Lorenzen-Strait shamelessly views Biden’s border crisis as a cash cow opportunity — raising serious concerns about numerous lucrative federal contracts. Congress must investigate Lorenzen-Strait’s yearslong corrupt bargain scheme, which undoubtedly exploits both American taxpayer dollars and unaccompanied migrant children.”

Lorenzen-Strait shifted to helping contractor Cherokee Nation following his departure from Endeavors. ICE simultaneously banned him from working on any more contracts due to the conflict of interest. The Cherokee Nation goes by five different similar names in federal contracts and has swept in $1.1 billion in contracts that started in fiscal 2021 through the present, according to USAspending.gov.

“The person I represented did not have the acumen and the ability to win in a competitive right. It was awarded because of patronage,” Lorenzen-Strait said during one of the Project Veritas conversations.

“Cherokee Nation is not this benevolent humanitarian actor. They make most of their money with alcohol and gambling,” Lorenzen-Strait said. “I helped them move into the migration or refugee space this year. So they’re now becoming more evolved, more enlightened, more pragmatic only because they built it on a bedrock of understanding the capitalist law. We’ve got to make money.”

Tara Rodas, a former HHS official and whistleblower, condemned Lorenzen-Strait’s actions.

“He himself admits they are not experts in the field of vetting children and yet somehow they were able to go around regular contracting roles to give a contract in an emergency to people who were not experts in the job they were supposed to be doing,” Rodas said in an interview with Project Veritas. She did not respond to a request for comment. “They view kiddos as an income-earning opportunity off of the back of the federal government,” she added.

Tom Homan, former acting ICE director during the Trump administration, told the Washington Examiner that it was past time for the House committees on oversight and homeland security to hold serious hearings on the Biden administration’s billions of dollars of non-competed emergency contracts.

“There is an acquisition process in place where companies can compete for government business,” Homan said. “Explain the emergency. This has been going on 2 1/2 years. There’s plenty of time to do a competitive bid.”

“It’s time to have oversight hearings and subpoena these political appointees and figure out why billions of dollars have been given to these companies without [a] competitive process,” he said.

House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-KY) said investigations were already underway.

“The House Oversight Committee is investigating the Biden Administration’s shady, no-bid contract connected to a Biden transition team official that has resulted in waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars according to the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has provided documents responsive to the Committee’s demand for information related to this no-bid contract,” Comer said in a statement. “In addition to congressional oversight, anyone who corruptly abuses the contracting process or commits fraud should be investigated by law enforcement and held responsible.”

A House Homeland Security Committee spokeswoman said it was “committed to conducting rigorous oversight of DHS’s contract procurement process and will work to deliver transparency for the American people as new allegations of ethical questions come to light.”

A spokesperson for the DHS Office of Inspector General did not comment on whether it was investigating contracts or Lorenzen-Strait.

“To protect the integrity of our work, and consistent with federal guidelines, DHS OIG does not confirm the existence of, or otherwise comment on investigative matters,” the spokesperson said.

Endeavors responded after publication and distanced itself from Lorenzen-Strait despite having defended its association with him in 2022.

“The Veritas video focuses on actions Andrew Lorenzen-Strait took after his time of employment at Endeavors. We are in no way responsible for his business or personal actions since he left our employment, and we have no ties with him, his various companies, or Cherokee Federal mentioned in the Project Veritas video,” Endeavors wrote in an unsigned email.

“As a faith-based, humanitarian non-profit organization, our primary commitment remains steadfast — to safeguard the well-being and safety of every child under our care,” Endeavors said.

DHS, HHS, and Cherokee Nation did not respond to requests for comment.