As published on: nationalreview.com, Tuesday 19 September, 2023.
Hunter Biden sued the Internal Revenue Service on Monday, accusing the federal agency of illegally releasing his tax records amid its investigation into him.
The president’s son alleges the IRS unlawfully disclosed his tax return information and failed to protect his private records, according to media reports. The lawsuit, which was filed in a Washington, D.C., federal court, cited the congressional testimonies and media interviews with IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler as two prominent examples of misconduct.
“Despite clear warnings from Congress that they were prohibited from disclosing the contents of their testimony to the public in another forum, Mr. Shapley and Mr. Ziegler’s testimony only emboldened their media campaign against Mr. Biden,” the 27-page lawsuit says.
“And finally, since their public testimony before the House of Representatives on July 19, 2023, the agents have become regular guests on national media outlets and have made new allegations and public statements regarding Mr. Biden’s confidential tax return information that were not previously included in their transcripts before the Committee on Ways and Means.”
By talking to the press about new details in the IRS investigation, Shapley and Ziegler made “unauthorized public disclosures that are not permitted by the whistleblower process,” the suit claimed. This means their “‘whistleblower’ status cannot and does not shield them from their wrongful conduct.”
“In fact, a ‘whistleblower’ is supposed to uncover government misconduct, not the details of that employee’s opinion about the alleged wrongdoing of a private person,” the filing reads.
The outlets involved in airing the confidential tax return information, per the court document, were Fox News, CNN, CBS News, John Solomon Reports, and The Megyn Kelly Show.
Biden is seeking $1,000 in damages for “each and every unauthorized disclosure of his tax returns,” according to the lawsuit. His lawyer did not list Shapley or Ziegler, other than the IRS, as specific defendants in the case.
Earlier this summer, the two IRS agents testified before Congress that the Department of Justice hindered their investigation into Hunter Biden and gave him preferential treatment because of his relation to President Joe Biden. They claimed Hunter Biden should have been charged more severely after he struck a plea deal, in which he would have pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor tax offenses in exchange for deferring a felony firearm violation.
However, the proposal, which was denounced by Republicans as a “sweetheart” deal with prosecutors, fell apart in late July after a federal judge questioned the tentative agreement. Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to the federal tax charges in court, leaving himself open for additional charges to be brought forward.
Last week, special counsel David Weiss indicted Biden on three federal gun charges for making false statements on a federal firearms form and possessing a handgun while addicted to drugs.
Weiss is exploring the possibility of indicting Biden on the tax-evasion charges in California or Washington, D.C., two locations he’s been accused of engaging in misdemeanor tax crimes.