Second Hunter Biden IRS whistleblower emerges after five years on case
Category: News & PoliticsVia: vic-eldred • 9 months ago • 10 comments
By: Steven Nelson (New York Post)
WASHINGTON — A second IRS whistleblower in the criminal investigation of first son Hunter Biden emerged Monday in documents sent to Congress following the purge of the entire investigatory team looking into President Biden's son for tax fraud and related crimes.
The new whistleblower is a special agent in the IRS's international tax and financial crimes group and worked on the Hunter Biden case since it was opened in 2018 — until he was ousted without explanation last week.
The agent joins his supervisor, who plans to testify behind closed doors before the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday, in publicly registering concerns about how the Justice Department has handled the investigation.
Both IRS whistleblowers expressed concerns internally for years about the case being swept under the rug but got nowhere, and they lay out extensive claims of retaliation in new disclosures to Congress.
Hunter, 53, allegedly failed to pay taxes on millions of dollars he received from foreign associates who in some instances interacted with then-Vice President Joe Biden.
Hunter wrote in communications retrieved from his abandoned laptop that he had to share "half" of his income with his father.
The IRS supervisor, who oversaw the probe since January 2020, and his 12 subordinates were removed from the case — allegedly on Justice Department orders — after he contacted Congress on April 19 to allege "preferential treatment" and false testimony to Congress by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The existence of a second IRS whistleblower in the criminal investigation of first son Hunter Biden emerged Monday in documents.The Washington Post via Getty ImagesAttorney General Merrick Garland told Congress that the US attorney in Delaware can unilaterally make charging decisions, even if alleged crimes occurred outside Delaware.AP/Jose Luis Magana
But in new documents sent to Congress, the special agent says investigators were cut out of prosecutors' calls after a contentious meeting in October, where IRS and FBI concerns about inaction in the case emerged, allegedly angering an unnamed US attorney.
"In a charged meeting on October 7, 2022, U.S. Attorney for the District of [redacted] became aware that both the IRS and the FBI had longstanding concerns about the handling of the case … After [redacted] continued to communicate concerns to the [redacted] USAO in a prosecutorial team call on October 17, 2022, he and his IRS team were no longer invited to any further prosecutorial team calls and meetings on the case, effectively excluding them from the case," one document says.
The second whistleblower, who worked on the probe since 2018, wrote in an email Thursday to seven senior IRS officials, including Commissioner Daniel Werfel, that he believes he was removed for doing the "right thing," including raising internal alarms about the Justice Department "acting inappropriately."
"As I'm sure you were aware, I was removed this week from a highly sensitive case … after nearly 5 years of work. I was not afforded the opportunity of a phone call directly from my [special agent in charge] or [assistant special agent in charge], even though this had been my investigation since the start," the new whistleblower wrote.
"There is a human impact to the decisions being made that no one in the government seems to care about or understand," the 13-year veteran of the agency added.
"I … have spent thousands of hours on the case, worked to complete 95% of the investigation, have sacrificed sleep/vacations/gray hairs etc., my husband and I (identifying me as the case agent) were publicly outed and ridiculed on social media due to our sexual orientation, and to ultimately be removed for always trying to do the right thing, is unacceptable in my opinion," he wrote.
It's unclear if the IRS agent's sexual orientation was criticized by supporters of Hunter Biden or by detractors who mistakenly assumed the detail meant he wouldn't conduct a serious investigation of a Democrat.
Hunter allegedly failed to pay taxes on millions of dollars he received from foreign associates who in some instances interacted with then-Vice President Joe Biden. AP/Patrick Semansky
"For the last couple years, my [supervisor] and I have tried to gain the attention of our senior leadership about certain issues prevalent regarding the investigation. 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 agent wrote.
"The lack of IRS-[Criminal Investigation] senior leadership involvement in this investigation is deeply troubling and unacceptable. Rather than recognizing the need to ensure close engagement and full support of the investigatory team in this extraordinarily sensitive case, the response too often had been that we were isolated (even when I said on multiple occasions that I wasn't being heard and that I thought I wasn't able to perform my job adequately because of the actions of the USAO and DOJ, my concerns were ignored by senior leadership)."
The agent added in his email: "The ultimate decision to remove the investigatory team from [redacted] without actually talking with that investigatory team, in my opinion was a decision made not to side with the investigators but to side with the US Attorney's office and Department of Justice who we have been saying for some time has been acting inappropriately."
The second whistleblower didn't receive an email reply from the IRS commissioner, whose spokespeople said last week that he won't retaliate against legally protected internal disclosures about wrongdoing.
But the No. 2 criminal investigations official for the DC field office reprimanded the agent and accused him of potentially committing a crime.
IRS assistant special agent in charge of the DC field office Lola Watson wrote Friday: "You have been told several times that you need to follow your chain of command. IRS-CI maintains a chain of command for numerous reasons to include trying to stop unauthorized disclosures. Your email yesterday may have included potential grand jury (aka 6e material) in the subject line and contents of the email, and you included recipients that are not on the 6e list."
Acting special agent in charge of the DC field office Kareem Carter wrote a message to the office's workers Friday adding: "There should be no instances where case related activity discussions leave this field office without seeking approval from your direct report (i.e. SA to SSA to ASAC to SAC). By following the chain of command, we can all work together to ensure that our team is successful."
Both IRS whistleblowers expressed concerns internally for years about the case being swept under the rug but got nowhere.AP
In a letter to Werfel on Monday, attorneys for the first IRS whistleblower wrote that they are concerned about "reprisals" that are "unacceptable and contrary to the law."
Attorneys Mark Lytle and Tristian Leavitt, who represent the first whistleblower, wrote that "the case agent had a right to expect that his email would be taken seriously, considered, and addressed professionally without retribution, as the law requires."
"Instead," they wrote, "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."
Neither IRS whistleblower has publicly identified Hunter Biden as the target of the investigation, but congressional sources have done so.
The supervisor reveals in new documents sent to congressional leaders that he's been raising internal concerns since summer 2020.
In newly disclosed files, he adds that he was passed over for a prestigious task force in favor of a less experienced colleague in January in apparent retaliation.
According to the first whistleblower, an assistant US attorney and an attorney for the DOJ's tax division on Oct. 24, 2022, demanded from the IRS "all his emails related to the case" and "made a similar request of the FBI."
The FBI allegedly was "shocked by it, and the FBI refused."
The new documents sent to Congress include writings from the first whistleblower, such as a December email to superiors.
"I have called into question the conduct of the USAO and DOJ tax on this investigation on a recurring basis and am prepared to present these issues. For over a year I have had trouble sleeping; awake all hours of the night thinking about this," the IRS supervisory agent wrote. "My choice was to turn a blind eye to their malfeasance, and not sleep, or to put myself in the crosshairs by doing the right thing."
Werfel said at a House hearing last month that "there will be no retaliation for anyone making an allegation or a call to a whistleblower hotline." The IRS said last week that Werfel stands by his remarks — despite Lytle and Leavitt last week calling the purge of the investigatory team "clearly retaliatory."
Internal Revenue Service Commisioner Daniel Werfel testifies during a Senate Finance Committee hearing.ZUMAPRESS.com
Exactly one week after the whistleblower first contacted Congress on April 19, Hunter Biden's legal team met with Justice Department leaders in what was interpreted as a sign that a charging decision was close.
It's unclear if the first son was offered a plea deal in the case, which is overseen by Delaware US Attorney David Weiss, a Trump administration holdover recommended by the state's two Democratic senators.
NBC reported last month that there was "growing frustration" inside the FBI over the fact that Weiss has not yet brought charges against Hunter Biden after the bureau concluded most of its work last year.
The first IRS whistleblower is challenging, in part, Garland's testimony to Congress that Weiss can unilaterally make charging decisions, even if alleged crimes occurred outside Delaware.
If the first son ultimately is indicted, the removal of the investigative team could hamstring a complex prosecution.
The Weiss probe reportedly has looked into whether the first son laundered money, violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act and lied about his drug use on a gun purchase form.
Joe Biden as vice president was involved in many of Hunter's international business relationships — meeting with his son's clients and associates from China, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine — and the House Oversight Committee this month described nine Biden family members who allegedly got foreign income.