Congress moves to free IRS whistleblower to talk about Hunter Biden probe, protect him from reprisal
House Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith pointedly warns IRS commissioner to protect agent from retaliation.
The tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee took a key step Thursday to free an IRS agent to reveal to lawmakers his concerns about political interference in the Hunter Biden criminal investigation as its powerful chairman pointedly admonished the agency's director to protect the whistleblower from any reprisals.
"Last week, a whistleblower came forward with troubling claims about abuses of power," Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) told IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel at the start of an oversight hearing on the agency's affairs. "We are conducting a review of this matter and will go wherever the facts lead us. I expect full cooperation from the IRS, particularly with regard to ensuring this whistleblower is protected from retaliation."
While most of the hearing was reserved to address congressional Republicans' other concerns with the agency, like audits, Smith's opening statement punctuated just how seriously Congress is taking the whistleblower's allegations that agents have been blocked from taking certain steps to investigate Biden family matters.
Smith's committee officially sent a letter authorizing two lawyers for the IRS whistleblower to gather information from their client about what alleged wrongdoing he witnessed during his time investigating Hunter Biden's tax affairs and to transmit that information to Congress.
The letter frees the agent and his lawyers from what is known as 6103 tax privacy obligations so the allegations can be relayed to Congress for investigation.
On the other side of the Capitol, the Senate Finance Committee, led by Democrat Chairman Ron Wyden of Oregon, was expected to do the same.
The agent has not been identified by name, only by his rank as an IRS supervisory criminal investigator. His lawyer Mark Lytle told Just the News last week that if freed from tax privacy restrictions his client could provide Congress contemporaneous documents and witnesses to substantiate his allegations.
The developments Thursday on Capitol Hill came as lawyers for Hunter Biden reportedly met with Justice Department investigators to discuss the possibility that the president's son might son face criminal charges related to his taxes and statements he made on a gun application.
Just the News reported last week that that the agent reported to the Justice Department inspector general that federal prosecutors appointed by Joe Biden had engaged in "preferential treatment and politics" to block criminal tax charges against Hunter Biden, calling into question Attorney General Merrick Garland's recent testimony to Congress that the decision on whether to bring charges against Biden was being left to the Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney for Delaware. The whistleblower also offered to give information to Congress in a letter sent by Lytle.
That letter does not state that the whistleblower disclosures are related to Hunter Biden. However, Just the News has independently confirmed the agent's allegations involve the Hunter Biden probe being led by Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, a Trump holdover, according to multiple interviews with people directly familiar with the matter.
"The protected disclosures: (l) contradict sworn testimony to Congress by a senior political appointee, (2) involve failure to mitigate clear conflicts of interest in the ultimate disposition of the case, and (3) detail examples of preferential treatment and politics improperly infecting decisions and protocols that would normally be followed by career law enforcement professionals in similar circumstances if the subject were not politically connected," Lytle wrote,
You can read the full letter here:
Hunter Biden has acknowledged since December 2020 that he has been under criminal investigation for tax matters, and his representative disclosed last year he paid overdue tax bills totaling $2 million. He has expressed confidence he will be cleared of criminal wrongdoing.
The IRS agent has a sterling record investigating tax crimes across the globe, including work on high-profile Swiss Bank prosecutions, and has won several merit awards. His emergence now in such a politically charged case is certain to inflame a debate over unequal justice in Washington.
The whistleblower originally approached the IRS' internal watchdog and Congress late last year with the help of prominent Democrat lawyer Mark Zaid, who previously represented clients whose allegations about a call with the Ukrainian president led to Donald Trump's first impeachment in 2019.
The agent subsequently hired Lytle, a former federal prosecutor with significant experience in prosecuting complex tax matters with the Justice Department's Tax Division. Lytle also represented former Twitter head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth in his recent congressional testimony and is currently defending a former FBI supervisor named Timothy Thibault who has been accused of pro-Biden political bias in anonymous whistleblower disclosures to the offices of Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan.
Lytle told lawmakers in his letter that the IRS agent has also disclosed his concerns to both the Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, the same watchdog who unmasked FBI abuses during the Russia collusion case.
People directly familiar with the case have described the disclosures to Just the News as focused primarily on improper politicization of the case at the Justice Department and FBI headquarters rather than at the IRS or Treasury Department.
Specifically, the agent has provided evidence that at least two Biden DOJ political appointees in U.S. attorneys' offices have declined to seek a tax indictment against Hunter Biden despite career investigators' recommendations to do so and the blessing of career prosecutors in the DOJ tax division.
He also alleges that Weiss told agents on the case that the Delaware U.S. Attorney asked to be named a special counsel to have more independent authority in the probe but was turned down, according to interviews.
The agent also alleged that specific DOJ employees placed strictures on questions, witnesses and tactics investigators may be allowed to pursue that could impact President Biden, according to the interviews.
The sources said the agent's decision to blow the whistle was prompted by sworn testimony from Garland that Weiss had full authority, free from political pressure, to pursue a case against Hunter Biden in any part of the country, according to interviews.