Allegations of retaliation have emerged from a second whistleblower investigating Hunter Biden who has accused the Justice Department and US Attorney’s office of “acting inappropriately.”
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.”
Letter from Empower Oversig… by The Federalist
In the agent’s Thursday email letter to Werfel, he had said, in part, “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.”
“There is a human impact to the decisions being made that no one in the government seems to care about or understand,” he charged, including six other senior IRS officials on the communication.
“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,” the agent lamented.
“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 whistleblower alleged. “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).”
Expected to testify Friday before the House Ways and Means Committee in a closed-door meeting, he had remarked in the letter, “The ultimate decision to remove the investigatory team … without 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.”
IRS removes ‘entire investigative team’ in Hunter Biden probe on orders from DOJhttps://t.co/Dm27EKHlxw
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) May 16, 2023
Leavitt and Lytle included the responses sent to the whistleblower. IRS assistant special agent in charge of the Washington, D.C. Field Office Lola Watson noted, “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.”
An additional response came from Kareem Carter, the acting special agent in charge of the D.C. office who said in part, “There should be no instances where case related activity discussions leave this field office without seeking approval from your direct report…By following the chain of command, we can all work together to ensure that our team is successful.”
Werfel’s claim that there “will be no retaliation for anyone making an allegation or a call to a whistleblower hotline,” was challenged by the attorneys who went on to demand, “The IRS must immediately cease and desist intimidating our client for simply exercising his Constitutional right to petition Congress and his statutory right against retaliation for doing so. Please immediately issue corrective guidance clarifying the aforementioned supervisor communications lest they chill the disclosures of other IRS whistleblowers who may wish to come forward.”
In addition to Werfel, the letter from the attorneys was sent to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Inspector General for Tax Administration Russell George, and Special Counsel Henry Kerner.
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