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Court filings vindicate IRS whistleblowers in face of Hunter Biden legal team attacks

The first has has alleged the whistleblowers disclosures to Congress violated the law.

Published: May 14, 2024 11:53am

The government quietly confirmed in a recent court filing the IRS whistleblowers in the Hunter Biden tax case did nothing illegal, pushing back on allegations by the Biden legal team that they violated the law by making protected disclosures to Congress.

Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler originally brought concerns to the House Ways and Means Committee that the Justice Department had provided preferential treatment to Biden during the probe into his alleged tax violations, including by blocking search warrants and limiting the investigators’ pursuit of information related to then-candidate Joe Biden, Hunter Biden's father. 

Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden's lawyer, immediately attacked the agents in a letter to the House committee seeking to discredit the whistleblowers, labeling them “disgruntled agents.” Eventually, Hunter Biden sued the IRS over the whistleblowers' disclosures, claiming they unlawfully disclosed his private tax returns.

The government in its filing Friday says it disputes this characterization and cited the regulations governing whistleblower activity to rebut Biden’s lawyers’ claims.

“[The] United States disputes that the IRS employees’ alleged disclosures violated I.R.C. § 7431(a)(1),” the United States Internal Revenue Service wrote in a footnote in its filing.

The IRS said in another footnote, citing the Internal Revenue Code: “Tellingly, however, he makes no claim that Special Agent Shapley and Ziegler’s testimony to Congress violated § 6013 in apparent recognition of § 6103(f)(5), which permits “[a]ny person who otherwise has or had access to any return or return information under this section [to] disclose such return or return information to a committee referred to in paragraph (1) or any individual authorized to receive or inspect information under paragraph (4)(A) if such person believes such a return or return information may relate to possible misconduct, maladministration, or taxpayer abuse.”

You can read the filing below:

This filing follows others from Special Counsel David Weiss, who is leading the prosecution of Hunter Biden for tax and gun crimes, in which the government implied that the whistleblowers were under investigation for their disclosures. In that filing, Weiss appeared to acknowledge an “ongoing investigation” into Shapley and Ziegler.

Now, the IRS filing last week indicates the government believes neither Shapley nor Ziegler did anything wrong by disclosing Hunter Biden’s tax information to the Ways and Means Committee, and in fact, such disclosures are protected by law.

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