Hunter Biden case takes stark twist with allegation of retaliation against IRS whistleblower
Lawyers for whistleblower disclose to lawmakers sudden move, raise concerns of obstruction of congressional probe.
The Justice Department removed an IRS whistleblower and his entire team from the criminal investigation of Hunter Biden’s taxes in what his lawyers described to Congress on Monday as an act of retaliation and possible obstruction of congressional inquiries, according to correspondence to lawmakers obtained by Just the News.
The IRS whistleblower, whose name has not been released, is a decorated supervisory criminal investigative agent who led the team probing the presidential son’s tax affairs.
He received whistleblower protection a few weeks ago from Congress and the Justice Department inspector general to disclose evidence he says shows there was political interference in the Hunter Biden probe.
"Today the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Supervisory Special Agent we represent was informed that he and his entire investigative team are being removed from the ongoing and sensitive investigation of the high-profile, controversial subject about which our client sought to make whistleblower disclosures to Congress,” the whistleblower’s lawyers, Mark Lytle and Tristan Leavitt, wrote in a letter to multiple House and Senate committees. "He was informed the change was at the request of the Department of Justice."
You can read the letter here:
The move stunned lawmakers in Congress, who had just taken action to accept the IRS agent as a whistleblower and were making plans to conduct a transcribed interview with him in coming days, and who had just received assurances from IRS chief Daniel Werfel that there would be no reprisals against the whistleblower.
“This most recent communication concerning allegations of retaliatory actions against a whistleblower, appears to contradict the sworn testimony by Commissioner Werfel who pledged that whistleblower protections would be upheld,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith told Just the News on Tuesday morning.
”Congress’s duty to hold government agencies accountable relies on the availability and willingness of individuals to speak out about wrongdoing,” he added. “Not only does retaliation like this discourage whistleblowers, it can also rise to the level of an illegal violation of statutory protections for whistleblowers. I call on Commissioner Werfel to abide by his pledge, quickly provide information to Congress in response to these allegations, and ensure that no action is taken to discourage those who attempt to shine a light on government misconduct.”
Lytle, a former DOJ lawyer, and Leavitt, a former congressional investigator who serves as president of the Empower Oversight whistleblower center, wrote lawmakers that they were concerned that the removal of their client and his entire team was a form of reprisal for his coming forward to Congress, something the IRS chief just vowed would not happen.
"On April 27, 2023, IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel appeared before the House Committee on Ways and Means," they noted. "He testified: 'I can say without any hesitation there will be no retaliation for anyone making an allegation or a call to a whistleblower hotline.' However, this move is clearly retaliatory and may also constitute obstruction of a congressional inquiry."
The lawyers noted that federal law prohibits a whistleblower from any reprisals, including "receiving a 'significant change in duties, responsibilities, or working conditions' (which this clearly is) because of his disclosures to Congress."
Lytle and Leavitt asked lawmakers in the House and Senate to begin probing what happened to their client.
"Removing the experienced investigators who have worked this case for years and are now the subject-matter experts is exactly the sort of issue our client intended to blow the whistle on to begin with,” they added.
The letter was addressed to the GOP chairman and top Democrats on the Judicial and House Ways and Means committees as well as the Democrat chairmen and top Republicans on the Senate Finance and Judiciary committees.
In late April, Just the News reported that an IRS whistleblower was alleging that federal prosecutors had engaged in "preferential treatment and politics" to prevent tax charges from being filed against the president's son.
The whistleblower's allegations appear to contradict sworn testimony from Attorney General Merrick Garland that Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who has been heading up the investigation, had full authority to pursue the case without fear of political interference.
Speaking on the "Just the News, No Noise" television show on Friday, Leavitt revealed that congressional leaders had received the allegations with interest and would likely to hold hearings to air his client's claims.
He also said Missouri Republican Rep. Jason Smith has identified that House Ways and Means is committed to thoroughly hearing these allegations, "so we look forward to a process. ... We are engaged with both sides of the aisle, and we anticipate that ultimately, our client, a very, very courageous and well-respected whistleblower, will be able to share his allegations with Congress."