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Another IRS agent comes forward with claims about misconduct in Hunter Biden investigation

By Sarah May
|
May 24, 2023

Adding to existing whistleblower claims of political interference in the federal probe of Hunter Biden's tax affairs, a second IRS agent has stepped forward to allege retaliation for raising concerns about the manner in which the ongoing investigation has been conducted, as the Washington Examiner reports.

According to the New York Post, the newest whistleblower works within the agency's international tax and financial crimes unit and has been part of the Hunter Biden probe since its inception in 2018 but was ousted last week along with the rest of the investigatory team assigned to the case.

Second Whistleblower Emerges

The special agent at issue is said to report to the supervisory special agent who came forward earlier this month seeking whistleblower protections so he could provide Congress with information about problems with the investigation of the first son.

The supervisory agent, through his attorneys, informed congressional leaders that he was prepared to make disclosures that “(1) contradict sworn testimony to Congress by a senior political appointee, (2) involve failure to mitigate clear conflicts of interest in the ultimate disposition of the case, and (3) detail examples of preferential treatment and politics improperly infecting decisions and protocols that would normally be followed by career law enforcement professionals in similar circumstances if the subject were not politically connected.”

According to the newest whistleblower, after repeatedly sounding the alarm to supervisors about the handling of the Hunter Biden probe, he was threatened with the possibility of criminal charges if he did not keep quiet.

Those allegations were outlined in a letter to IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel from Tristan Leavitt and Mark Lytle, lawyers for the first whistleblower, in which they referenced email communication from the new whistleblower to a number of top officials at the revenue agency.

Retaliation Alleged

As the Washington Examiner notes, Leavitt and Lytle wrote to Werfel, “Our client learned that one of the agents he supervises – the case agent on the case our client is blowing the whistle on – sent you an email” in which his concerns about the Biden probe were outlined.

However, the attorneys explained, IRS high-level officials 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.”

The attorneys asserted that agency officials must stop “intimidating” investigative agents, “lest they chill the disclosures of other IRS whistleblowers who may wish to come forward.”

While it is true that the lawyers for the first whistleblower have never formally confirmed that the probe to which they are referring in communications with Congress is that related to Hunter Biden, sources close to the situation have confirmed that is the case, as the Examiner further indicates.

Email Outlines Claims

In their letter to Werfel, Leavitt and Lytle included the message sent by the second whistleblower to the IRS chief and other top officials at the agency, in which the case agent articulated his claims of retaliation and intimidation.

The agent explained therein, “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,” adding that the pair often felt “left out on an island.”

The message continued, “The ultimate decision to remove the investigatory team...without actually talking to that investigatory team, in my opinion was a decision made not to side with the investigators but to side with the [U.S. Attorney's Office] and Department of Justice who we have been saying for some time has been acting inappropriately.”

Leavitt and Lytle then added that “in response to making his good faith expression of reasonable concerns – concerns shared by our client – 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,” though he instead was told by an IRS official, “you have been told several times that you need to follow your chain of command” and that “your email yesterday may have included potential grand jury material,” implying possible criminality.

Private Testimony Scheduled

Though Werfel vowed at a House hearing in April that “there will be no retaliation for anyone making an allegation or a call to a whistleblower hotline,” as the Post noted, these new allegations appear to raise questions about whether that pledge is being kept.

Just last week, the IRS reiterated that Werfel stands by his earlier words, but Lytle and Leavitt argue that the removal of the aforementioned investigatory team from the case on which it has worked for years suggests otherwise.

According to Lytle and Leavitt, the first whistleblower is set to provide private testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee at the end of this week, and staff from the Seante Finance Committee has reportedly also been invited to attend, according to the Examiner.

In a separate communication from Lytle outlining additional instances of alleged retaliatory acts on the part of the IRS, the lawyer wrote, “We look forward to working with the Office of Special Counsel to ensure no additional retaliation occurs and to obtain corrective action.” Whether those efforts are ultimately successful, however, only time will tell.