IRS denies retaliation against whistleblowers who raised questions about Hunter Biden case

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Daniel Werfel has denied retaliating against a whistleblower who’d alleged malfeasance in the bureau’s Hunter Biden probe.

Werfel offered the denial in a May 17th letter reportedly sent to the House Ways and Means Committee. In the letter, he claimed the whistleblower was assigned to another case by the Department of Justice and not him.

“I want to state unequivocally that I have not intervened – and will not intervene – in any way that would impact the status of any whistleblower,” the denial reads, as reported by Fox News,

“The IRS whistleblower you reference alleges that the change in their work assignment came at the direction of the Department of Justice. As a general matter and not in reference to any specific case, I believe it is important to emphasize that in any matter involving federal judicial proceedings, the IRS follows the direction of the Justice Department,” it continues.

According to Werfel, after he became aware of the whistleblower, he contacted the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to learn more about the matter.

“When I first learned of the allegations of retaliation referenced in your letter and in media reports on May 16, 2023, I contacted the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). In light of laws and policies designed to protect the integrity of pending proceedings, I am unable to provide details on this matter,” he explained in his letter to the House Ways and Means Committee.

“TIGTA confirmed that my role as Commissioner in any whistleblower proceeding is not an investigative one. When an IRS employee raises allegations of this kind, the Commissioner’s office does not run an investigation, seek the identity of the whistleblower, or similarly intervene; instead, the Inspector General serves as a critical guardian of the whistleblower process and conducts relevant inquiries into the matter,” it continues.

From the sounds of it, Werfel is trying to pass the buck to the DOJ — either justifiably or unjustifiably.

As previously reported, an IRS whistleblower who works as an IRS investigator recently went public with allegations that there’s been political interference in the IRS’ probe into President Joe Biden’s younger son, Hunter.

“Congressional leaders learned of the investigator’s allegations … when a lawyer sent them a letter asking for whistleblower protections for his client,” The New York Times originally reported late last month.

“The letter stated that the unnamed client, identified as an ‘I.R.S. criminal supervisory special agent who has been overseeing’ an ongoing and sensitive case, had knowledge of an array of misconduct including political meddling,” the Times added.

A couple of weeks later in early May, one of the whistleblower’s attorneys, Mark Lytle, met with members of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees and told them that the whistleblower and his team of investigators had since been removed from the Hunter Biden case.

Tom Devine, a separate whistleblower attorney, told CBS News at the time that the whistleblower’s ouster could be illegal.

“That’s considered a significant change in duties and working conditions to remove you from a case, and if it’s because of your whistleblowing, that would make it a violation of the law,” he said.

He added that even if the DOJ believes they removed him for legitimate reasons, there’s a “reverse burden of proof” required to prove the whistleblower wasn’t being retaliated against.

“It’s a tough test. They have to show by clear and convincing evidence that they would have taken the same action for legitimate independent reasons, even if you never opened your mouth,” he explained.

All this comes amid reports that a second IRS whistleblower has emerged.

News of the second whistleblower came from the first whistleblower’s attorneys.

The attorneys representing the IRS supervisor whose “entire investigative team” was dropped from the Biden tax probe case contacted IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel after learning of “additional reprisals” allegedly taken against an agent voicing concerns. The special agent in question from the international tax and financial crimes group had been on the Biden case since it began in 2018.

Instead of being taken seriously, attorneys Tristan Leavitt and Mark Lytle asserted, “the IRS responded with accusations of criminal conduct and warning to other agents in an apparent attempt to intimidate into silence anyone who might raise similar concerns.”

“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 unnamed whistleblower reportedly wrote last week in a letter to Werfel.

Vivek Saxena


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