Three key House committees are seeking answers regarding an intimidation campaign waged by Hunter Biden and his lawyers against legitimate IRS whistleblowers. The whistleblowers are on record in testimony detailing their treatment following lawful, protected disclosures to congress after witnessing the highly unusual treatment of the Biden tax case.

On Tuesday April 2, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) sent letters (here, here, and here) to Attorney General Merrick Garland, IRS Chief Daniel Werfel, and Special Counsel David Weiss.

Key excerpts of the letter to Werfel:

“Hunter Biden and his lawyers have waged an aggressive intimidation campaign against Mr. Shapley and Mr. Ziegler, slandering them with false allegations and demanding that the Justice Department investigate them for making protected disclosures to Congress. According to the New York Times, Hunter Biden’s lawyers ‘have contended to the Justice Department that by disclosing details about the investigation to Congress, they broke the law and should be prosecuted.’ Among other tactics, on October 31, 2022, Hunter Biden’s former lawyer, Chris Clark, sent a letter to then-U.S. Attorney Weiss falsely accusing Mr. Shapley and Mr. Ziegler of illegally leaking information about the investigation to the press and demanding they be investigated. Mr. Clark also wrote to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz (twice), Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer, and Tax Division senior litigation counsel Mark Daly and two Assistant U.S. Attorneys demanding that the whistleblowers be investigated. Hunter Biden’s current attorney, Abbe Lowell, sent a similar letter to Special Counsel Weiss on August 14, 2023, again falsely claiming that Mr. Shapley and Mr. Ziegler acted illegally in disclosing information to Congress and demanding that they be investigated.

“The Department appears to have been receptive to the intimidation campaign of Hunter Biden’s lawyers. On March 11, 2024, Special Counsel Weiss applied for an order to seal the Department’s unredacted brief opposing Hunter Biden’s motion to dismiss the charges against him on the grounds that it ‘relates to a potential ongoing investigation(s) . . . .’ The redacted portion of the Department’s brief is in a paragraph about guidance from the IRS on   whistleblowing options distributed to IRS employees, ‘including Shapley and Ziegler,’ suggesting that the whistleblowers may be subjects of the purported ongoing investigation and that the IRS may be involved in it. Given that the whistleblowers’ disclosures were lawful, if they are under investigation for their protected disclosures to Congress, the Committees are concerned that such an investigation is an attempt to seek retribution against these two brave whistleblowers. 

“The Committees will not tolerate any retaliatory conduct by the Department or the IRS against these or any other whistleblowers. Whistleblowers play an integral role in identifying and rooting out waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and corruption within federal agencies. Federal law protects whistleblowers from retaliation. Any efforts, including those by the Department and the IRS, to investigate whistleblowers for making lawful disclosures raise serious concerns about the continued weaponization of the federal government. Any and all attempts to intimidate or retaliate against Mr. Shapley and Mr. Ziegler for their protected disclosures to Congress must stop.”