House Republicans will expose any cover-up by the Internal Revenue Service after a whistleblower’s lawyers announced that their client is being retaliated against because of the investigation into presidential son Hunter Biden’s finances, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said.
“The repeated weaponization of the federal government to attack one political party and protect the other is un-American,” McCarthy, R-Calif., wrote Tuesday on Twitter.
The House speaker added: “@WaysAndMeansGOP will expose any possible cover-up at the IRS, and Republicans will protect the whistleblowers who shine a light on government misconduct.”
The IRS has removed its “entire investigative team” in the agency’s probe of Hunter Biden for tax fraud, according to the whistleblower’s legal counsel, the New York Post reported Monday.
A representative of the whistleblower is scheduled to testify Thursday before to the House Select Subcommittee on Weaponization of the Federal Government.
In late April, the whistleblower from within the IRS notified several congressional committees and the Treasury Department’s inspector general about political interference in the IRS investigation of the business dealings of Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, in China, Ukraine, Romania, and elsewhere.
IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel testified April 27 to the House Ways and Means Committee. “I can say without any hesitation [that] there will be no retaliation for anyone making an allegation or [calling] into a whistleblower hotline,” Werfel told lawmakers.
Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith, R-Mo., said Tuesday that it appears that Werfel’s pledge of no retaliation may not be holding up. In a public statement, Smith said:
This most recent communication concerning allegations of retaliatory actions against a whistleblower, appears to contradict the sworn testimony by Commissioner Werfel, who pledged that whistleblower protections would be upheld. Congress’s duty to hold government agencies accountable relies on the availability and willingness of individuals to speak out about wrongdoing.
Not only does retaliation like this discourage whistleblowers, it can also rise to the level of an illegal violation of statutory protections for whistleblowers. I call on Commissioner Werfel to abide by his pledge, quickly provide information to Congress in response to these allegations, and ensure that no action is taken to discourage those who attempt to shine a light on government misconduct.
Lawyers Tristan Leavitt, president of Empower Oversight, and Mark Lytle, a partner in Nixon Peabody LLP, who represent the whistleblower, disclosed the IRS’ removal of its investigative team in a letter Monday to Congress.
“Today the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Supervisory Special Agent we represent was informed that he and his entire investigative team are being removed from the ongoing and sensitive investigation of the high-profile, controversial subject about which our client sought to make whistleblower disclosures to Congress,” their letter says.
Leavitt is scheduled to testify Thursday before the House’s government weaponization subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
“Any attempt by any government official to prevent a federal employee from furnishing information to Congress is also a direct violation of longstanding appropriations restrictions,” the Leavitt-Lytle letter says. “Furthermore, 18 U.S.C. § 1505 makes it a crime to obstruct an investigation of Congress.”
President Joe Biden consistently has said that his son did nothing wrong. The White House has said that House Republicans haven’t provided evidence of wrongdoing by any member of the Biden family.
House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer noted that Americans just found out about the FBI’s abuses in its investigation of Donald Trump, officially exposed Monday by special counsel John Durham.
“Congress must thoroughly investigate this alleged retaliation [against the IRS whistleblower] and hold accountable those in the Biden administration who are covering up any crimes committed by the president’s son,” Comer, R-Ky., said in a written statement. He added:
It’s clear from the House Oversight Committee’s investigation that Hunter and other members of the Biden family engaged in deceptive, shady business schemes to avoid scrutiny as they made millions from countries like China and Romania.
The Oversight Committee will continue to pursue our investigation into the Biden family’s business schemes to determine if President Biden and our national security are compromised. Americans demand answers, transparency, and accountability.
Samantha Aschieris contributed to this report.
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