Bully Pulpit? Team Biden faces new allegations of retaliation as GOP ramps up probes

Impeachment witness Jason Galanis’ accusations of retaliation from Biden DOJ mirror complaints by suspended FBI agents and IRS whistleblowers.

Fresh allegations that an impeachment witness faced retaliation from the Bureau of Prisons are escalating concerns in Congress about a wider pattern of perceived intimidation of whistleblowers and congressional witnesses by President Joe Biden’s administration.

The concerns include four FBI agents suspended for whistleblowing and a possible government investigation into the IRS whistleblowers who testified about roadblocks they encountered investigating the Hunter Biden case.

On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee led by Chairman Jim Jordan expanded its probe into allegations that Biden’s Department of Justice targeted a key witness in the impeachment inquiry for “retribution,” according to three letters sent to DOJ and BOP officials.

Jason Galanis told the three House committees leading the impeachment investigation that he faced retaliation by components of the Biden DOJ after it became likely he would be called to testify in the congressional probe.

Galanis told the committees in his transcribed interview that he believed he was a victim of retaliation by the administration which anticipated his cooperation with the investigation. The Justice Department ultimately denied Galanis’ request for home confinement under CARES Act rules after his former business partner and fellow Hunter Biden associate, Devon Archer, was called to testify.

Galanis’ appeals of the decision were denied on “erroneous grounds,” the Judiciary committee said in its letters.

Galanis’ testimony was unfavorable to the president and his son, Hunter, which congressional investigators believe may have spurred the retribution.

In his testimony before the impeachment inquiry, Galanis told investigators his involvement in Biden family plans to secure its financial future after then-Vice President Biden left office, including building “a diversified private equity platform, which would be anchored by a globally known Wall Street brand together with a globally known political name,” as he said in his opening statement.

The Bureau of Prisons declined to comment on the congressional correspondence. The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The partners planned to include a Chinese firm called Harvest Fund Management, headed by Henry Zhao and backed by Chinese state enterprises. He also said that Hunter Biden intended his father to join the board of the venture after his vice presidency.

"Mr. Zhao was interested in this partnership because of the game-changing value add of the Biden family, including Joe Biden, who was to be a member of the Burnham-Harvest team post-vice presidency, providing political access in the United States and around the world,” Galanis told Congress.

The plans would not come to fruition because both Galanis and Archer were charged in a fraudulent tribal bonds scheme, for which Galanis is currently serving his sentence. Galanis told Congress the fraudulent scheme was designed to to build the financial platform for the planned business with the Bidens.

Galanis is not the first unfavorable witness to face alleged retaliatory actions from the Biden administration.

Jordan’s committee, specifically through the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, has received testimony from at least four FBI whistleblowers who alleged retaliation for questioning bureau practices and deviation from established administration narratives last year.

The first agent, intelligence analyst Marcus Allen, claimed the FBI suspended his security clearance after he raised concerns about the accuracy of FBI Director Christopher Wray’s testimony to Congress about the events of January 6 riot, including Wray's claims that neither the FBI or law enforcement infiltrated groups blamed for the violence, Just the News reported.

Allen wrote to his supervisors and said “there is a significant counter-story to the events of 6 January 2021 at the US Capitol. There is a good possibility the DC elements of our organization are not being forthright about the events of the day or the influence of government assets.”

According to his testimony, the bureau subsequently suspended his security clearance, questioned his loyalty to the country and accuse him of having “conspiratorial views,” Just the News reported.

Two years after his clearance was first suspended, Allen remains on leave, has not received a paycheck from the FBI, and has not been able to secure permission to seek other employment, Just the News reported in February.

Last year, two more FBI agents testified to the committee about their own experience with agency retaliation after they had brought concerns to their superiors. Garret O’Boyle told the committee he was suspended in retaliation after he made whistleblower disclosures to Congress.

O’Boyle told the committee that after the Supreme Court overturned Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the FBI prioritized investigating threats from pro-life advocates.

"Why are you focusing on pro-life people?" O'Boyle recalled thinking, Just the News reported. "It's prochoice people who are the ones protesting or otherwise threatening violence in front of Supreme Court Justices' houses.”

O’Boyle told the committee his suspension took place just as he was planning to move his family from Kansas to Virginia for a job transfer. He had sold his home, he recounted, and was waiting to close on his new one. Yet, O’Boyle was suspended during the move and the FBI prevented him from accessing his family’s belongings being stored in bureau storage since the agency had paid for the moving company.

In his opening statement at a May 2023 hearing, O’Boyle had strong criticisms about the bureau’s behavior.

“Despite our oath to uphold the Constitution, too many in the FBI aren’t willing to sacrifice for the hard right over the easy wrong," his remarks read. "They see what becomes of whistleblowers; how the FBI destroys their careers, suspends them under false pretenses, takes their security clearances and pay with no true options for real recourse or remedy. This is by design; it creates an Orwellian atmosphere that silences opposition and discussion.”

Another FBI agent, Steven Friend, filed a complaint to the FBI’s Office of Special Counsel alleging that he was suspended for bringing forward concerns about alleged manipulation of crime statistics by the bureau, its treatment of Jan. 6 defendants, and use of force through SWAT teams.

Friend testified to the committee last year that after he raised concerns about using a SWAT team to arrest a Jan. 6 investigation suspect, he was taken off the job for a day. Friend was later indefinitely suspended.

The two IRS whistleblowers also at the center of the Biden impeachment probe allegedly faced retaliatory actions by Biden’s Department of Justice, Just the News reported last month.

Last year, IRS Agents Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler brought concerns to the House Ways and Means Committee that the Justice Department had provided preferential treatment to Hunter Biden during the probe into his alleged tax violations, tipping off Hunter Biden that a raid may be forthcoming, and by blocking search warrants and limiting the investigator's pursuit of information related Joe Biden.

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

Last month, the three Republican committee chairmen leading the impeachment inquiry sent letters to the DOJ, IRS, and Special Counsel David Weiss demanding documents and answers about the alleged retaliation efforts after their investigation indicated such relation may exist, Just the News reported.

"The Committees will not tolerate any retaliatory conduct by the Department or the IRS against these or any other whistleblowers. Whistleblowers play an integral role in identifying and rooting out waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and corruption within federal agencies. Federal law protects whistleblowers from retaliation,” the chairmen asserted.

“Any efforts, including those by the Department and the IRS, to investigate whistleblowers for making lawful disclosures raise serious concerns about the continued weaponization of the federal government. Any and all attempts to intimidate or retaliate against Mr. Shapley and Mr. Ziegler for their protected disclosures to Congress must stop,” they concluded.