Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Why is Hunter Biden taking IRS to court?

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Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, has taken legal action against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), alleging unauthorized disclosure of his tax information. In a lawsuit filed on Monday, Hunter Biden claims that the IRS agents illegally released his tax return details and failed to protect the confidentiality of his records.

FILE – President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden leaves after a court appearance, July 26, 2023, in Wilmington, Del. Hunter Biden has filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service, arguing that two agents violated his right to privacy when they publicly aired his tax information as they pressed claims that a federal investigation into him had been improperly handled. The lawsuit filed Monday says that his personal tax details shared during congressional hearings and interviews was not allowed by whistleblower protections.(AP)

The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C., does not name the two IRS agents, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, who turned whistleblowers, as defendants. However, it revolves around disclosures made by these agents and their legal representatives in public statements, congressional testimonies, and interviews.

The lawsuit contends that the IRS violated Hunter Biden’s privacy rights by unlawfully disclosing his tax return information and failing to establish safeguards for the protection of his confidential records. Among the remedies sought, Hunter Biden is requesting all documents related to the disclosure of his tax information, $1,000 for each unauthorized disclosure, and coverage of his attorney fees.

The lawsuit states, “Despite clear warnings from Congress that they were prohibited from disclosing the contents of their testimony to the public in another forum, Mr. Shapley and Mr. Ziegler’s testimony only emboldened their media campaign against Mr. Biden.”

The lawsuit emphasizes that the IRS agents, despite their whistleblower status, went beyond confirming the investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes by providing specific allegations, deduction amounts, and tax liabilities for certain years.

Tensions have escalated in the ongoing investigation, with Shapley’s lawyers stating that Hunter Biden’s legal team attempted to induce the Justice Department to retaliate against their clients for their disclosures, which were protected under whistleblower rules.

The IRS agents had earlier gone public with their allegations concerning the Justice Department’s handling of the investigation into Hunter Biden. In June, Hunter Biden had reached a plea deal with the Justice Department related to tax misdemeanors, which later fell apart. Subsequently, Hunter Biden was indicted on three felony gun charges, and there is the possibility of tax charges being brought against him.

Why is Hunter Biden taking IRS to court?
President Joe Biden poses for his official portrait Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in the Library of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

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