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IRS whistleblower alleges sweeping retaliation over concerns about Hunter Biden investigation

The Supervisory Special Agent has filed a complaint contending that he was sidelined from the case over which he made protected disclosures.

Published: May 22, 2023 7:35pm

Updated: May 22, 2023 8:50pm

An IRS whistleblower who questioned the propriety of Department of Justice officials handling a tax investigation into first son Hunter Biden has alleged that the agency retaliated against him and his subordinates for raising their concerns.

The Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) has filed a formal complaint with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) contending that he was sidelined from the case over which he made protected disclosures, was passed over for promotion despite being the "clearly most qualified" candidate, and that he was recently formally removed from the same case in an alleged act of retaliation.

The whistleblower's name remains undisclosed. He is represented by  Mark Lytle, a former DOJ lawyer, and Tristan Leavitt, a former congressional investigator who serves as president of Empower Oversight.

The pair disclosed to Congress last week that their client and his entire team had been removed by the Department of Justice from the investigation in what they described as a retaliatory act. Just the News, in late April, reported that the whistleblower had alleged that federal prosecutors had engaged in "preferential treatment and politics" to prevent the younger Biden from facing tax charges.

Those allegations appeared to undercut testimony from Attorney General Merrick Garland, who had asserted that Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss had full authority to pursue the case against the first son, without any politically motivated interference.

The OSC complaint is particularly shocking, given that IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, who on April 27, shortly after the initial whistleblower bombshell, told the House Committee on Ways and Means that the whistleblower would face no retaliation, saying "I can say without any hesitation there will be no retaliation for anyone making an allegation or a call to a whistleblower hotline."

Lytle and Leavitt, on Saturday, wrote to Werfel, questioning him as to the team's dismissal and its apparent contradiction with his vow not to pursue retaliation.

"This action was inconsistent with your testimony to the House Committee on Ways and Means that there would be “no retaliation” against whistleblowers at the IRS," the pair wrote. "It was our understanding that although the IRS executed the reprisal, it did so on behalf of DOJ officials who had the motive to retaliate because it was the propriety of their own actions that had been called into question by the protected disclosures."

They then, however, asserted that they had learned of an IRS decision to pursue exactly such a retaliation against the agents shortly after Werfel made such testimony, which they attributed to a protected disclosure made directly to Werfel.

The pair pointed to an email from one of the client's subordinates, whom the agency removed from the case as well, in which the case agent informs the commissioner of his repeatedly attempts to make his superiors aware of problems affecting the investigation and contends that in removing him and the team, the agency had sided with the DOJ, whom they had alleged was behaving improperly.

"[T]he case agent had a right to expect that his email would be taken seriously, considered, and addressed professionally without retribution, as the law requires," wrote Leavitt and Lytle. "Instead, the IRS responded with accusations of criminal conduct and warnings to other agents in an apparent attempt to intimidate into silence anyone who might raise similar concerns."

They then reminded Werfel of the rights of whistleblowers and demanded that the IRS cease retaliating against whistleblowers.

In a separate, Monday letter, the attorneys wrote to key congressional leaders informing them that they had filed the complaint with the OSC and urged them to cooperate with one another to schedule voluntary testimony with the whistleblower.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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