New IRS whistleblower letter suggests DOJ interference in Hunter Biden probe dates back years
The allegation was made in a May 20 whistleblower letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel.
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An IRS agent working with federal prosecutors and investigators on the Hunter Biden tax probe is alleging the agency ignored his team's warnings about years of improprieties by Justice Department officials supervising the case.
The allegation appeared in a May 18 letter the agent sent to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, and it was made public Monday evening as part of a whistleblower package his supervisor sent Congress and the Office of Special Counsel, the government's official whistleblower protection agency.
Last week, attorneys for an IRS supervisory special agent (SSA) informed Congress that the DOJ had removed their client and his entire team from the investigation in what they deemed an act of retaliation.
The SSA came forward in late April, alleging that federal prosecutors had engaged in "preferential treatment and politics" to prevent charges from being filed against Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden. The whistleblower further alleged that his entire team had been sidelined after he made protected disclosures.
He also asserted that Biden appointees had limited the ability of Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss to pursue charges against his son by refusing to grant Weiss permission do so within their jurisdictions.
That claim appeared to undercut testimony from Attorney General Merrick Garland, who had contended that Weiss enjoyed full freedom to pursue the investigation and to bring charges in another jurisdiction should the need arise.
The whistleblower approached IRS internal watchdog late last year with the help of attorney Mark Zaid, who previously represented whistleblowers whose disclosures led to the first impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
A May 20 letter from the whistleblower's current counsel to Werfel, however, references the May 18 letter sent by one of the supervisory agent's subordinates. That communication suggests IRS agents have been concerned for years about the DOJ's conduct in the Hunter Biden probe and felt left "out on an island" because the agency brass would not intervene.
Former DOJ lawyer Mark Lytle and former congressional investigator Tristan Leavitt, who now serves as president of Empower Oversight, currently represent the unidentified whistleblower. In the letter, the pair pointed to a protected disclosure from one of the IRS supervisory special agent's subordinates made directly to Werfel following the team's removal from the case.
In the disclosure, the case agent, a subordinate of Lytle and Leavitt's client, recounts his extensive, but unsuccessful efforts to highlight the issues, before contending the agency's decision to remove him and the team meant the IRS had sided with the officials facing allegations of impropriety.
"For the last couple years, my SSA and I have tried to gain the attention of our senior leadership about certain issues prevalent regarding the investigation," he told Werfel. "I have asked for countless meetings with our chief and deputy chief, often to be left out on an island and not heard from. The lack of IRS-CI senior leadership involvement is deeply troubling and unacceptable."
The case agent also said his concerns were ignored by senior leadership.
That agent's May 18 letter, prompted a response from a superior, admonishing him for breaking the chain of command and suggesting he may have illegally disclosed grand jury material to Werfel. Lytle and Leavitt contended that such a charge was "utterly baseless."
They further inferred that that individual may have been "referred for investigation" and that such a method of reprisal was "likely to chill anyone from expressing dissent."
The pair reminded Werfel of his obligation to prevent whistleblower retaliation and of his prior testimony to the House Committee on Ways and Means that his agency would not retaliate against whistleblowers.
"I can say without any hesitation there will be no retaliation for anyone making an allegation or a call to a whistleblower hotline," Werfel testified on April 27.
The SSA has also submitted an official complaint to the Office of Special Counsel alleging retaliation, including claims that he had been passed over for promotion despite his qualifications after blowing the whistle.
The latest revelations generated an immediate rebuke of the IRS from Republican Sen, Charles Grassley of Iowa, a longtime champion of whistleblowers.
"IRS commissioner Werfel: what r u doing to protect IRS whistleblowers??" Grassley tweeted Monday evening. "They r being treated like skunks at a picnic under ur watch UNACCEPTABLE u must protect them from retaliation it’s the law."
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.
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