IRS Whistleblowers Defend Accusation That Hunter Biden Received ‘Preferential Treatment,’ Say First Son Claimed Tax Deductions for Sex Clubs and Drug Binges in France
One of the whistleblowers says Biden claimed as a business expense a long stay at a French chateau where he learned to cook crack cocaine.
During a hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, two Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers — one disclosing his identity for the first time — defended their claims that Hunter Biden received “preferential treatment” from officials at the Department of Justice and the FBI. Their accusations are likely to spur more calls for the impeachment of the embattled attorney general, Merrick Garland, and his inner circle.
In the standing-room-only committee hearing, the two IRS agents, Joseph Ziegler and Gary Shapley, gave their accounts of how senior Department of Justice officials allegedly slow-walked and obstructed the tax evasion and corruption investigation into the first son, which was being conducted by the United States attorney for Delaware, David Weiss.
During his opening statement, Mr. Ziegler, who had previously remained anonymous, described his “multiple attempts” at bringing the alleged interference to the attention of his and Mr. Shapley’s superiors at the IRS. The alarms he raised were repeatedly rebuffed, he said, leaving him no other option than to bring his concerns to Congress earlier this year.
Mr. Ziegler, who noted that he is a registered Democrat, pointed out discrepancies in the public letters sent to Congress by Mr. Weiss denying that higher-ups interfered with his Hunter Biden probe. Mr. Weiss, the whistleblowers noted, has changed his story multiple times, first saying he had “ultimate charging authority,” then noting he was “geographically limited” in bringing charges, and then refusing to answer whether he discussed special counsel status with DOJ superiors.
Mr. Ziegler also disclosed new details uncovered by his team during the investigation into Mr. Biden. The first son, during his years of struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, falsely claimed multiple personal expenses to be business-related on his tax forms, allowing him to pay lower tax rates. Mr. Ziegler disclosed that Mr. Biden listed tuition payments for his daughter’s college, membership in “sex clubs,” and a long visit to a French “chateau” as business expenses.
Mr. Ziegler noted that in Mr. Biden’s memoir, “Beautiful Things,” he tells the story of spending several weeks in a rented French chateau where he learned how to cook crack cocaine. He claimed this and other dubious expenditures as tax deductible. In total, these claims of business expenditures on his taxes cost the Department of the Treasury hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Mr. Biden also “knowingly” failed to report his income from his time as a board member of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, Mr. Ziegler said, which resulted in further loss of funds to the treasury department. Mr. Ziegler claimed that based on these alleged “willful” violations of federal tax law — which occurred in 2014 and 2018 — both prosecutors at the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office and investigators at the IRS recommended multiple felony counts.
Yet those recommendations, when presented to the United States attorney for the District of Columbia, Matthew Graves, were ignored, Mr. Ziegler claimed, even though he and his colleagues felt the case against Mr. Biden was strong. Mr. Graves’s indifference seemed unusual, Mr. Ziegler said.
The “normal investigative process” was not followed and the probe was “slow-walked” and littered with “unnecessary … approvals and roadblocks,” Mr. Ziegler claimed.
Mr. Shapley, who had previously spoken with “CBS Evening News” and Fox News’s Bret Baier about the alleged interference, has more than a decade of experience at the IRS and currently holds the senior position of supervisory special agent. He also previously led the IRS field offices at New York City and Chicago.
“The Delaware U.S. attorney’s office … was very different from every other case” he had worked, Mr. Shapley told committee members. The “preferential treatment” that Mr. Biden received is an example of a “two-track justice system” that punishes the average American and shields the rich and powerful, he said.
Mr. Shapley insisted that he did not want to make these accusations publicly or seek the media spotlight but was forced to do so after two years of inaction from his superiors. Charges were “ready” to be filed against Mr. Biden in April 2020, he said, but they were ignored by Mr. Graves. He said that many on the investigative team wanted to search President Biden’s home in 2020 but were blocked from doing so by prosecutors due to “optics” amid the presidential campaign.
“I did not come running to Congress,” Mr. Shapley said, forcefully denouncing any assertion that he was seeking attention. He went through the proper “chain of command” at the IRS to raise his concerns, which all went unanswered, he said. It wasn’t until October 2022 that Mr. Shapley decided to come forward, sending his complaint to the man he called “the patron saint of whistleblowers,” Senator Grassley.
The “red line” for Mr. Shapley was when he heard Mr. Weiss privately say in an intimate October 2022 meeting that he was blocked by DOJ higher-ups from attaining special counsel status. According to Mr. Shapley, just weeks before that, Mr. Weiss had sought to bring charges at the Central District of California, but the requests were delayed until Mr. Biden’s nominee for United States attorney in that jurisdiction, Martin Estrada, was confirmed by the Senate. Mr. Estrada, upon taking office, then declined to pursue charges against the first son.
Mr. Shapley emphatically denied that he was seeking any fame or a “book deal” from this complaint, but rather called on Congress to pick up the mantle and figure out whether Messrs. Garland and Weiss made “knowingly false” statements to the legislative branch. “That no charges were brought tells you everything you need to know,” Mr. Shapley said.
Seated next to the chairman of the Oversight Committee was the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Jason Smith, who has been deeply involved in investigating foreign business operations with ties to the Biden family. Mr. Smith said that evidence shows that “preferential treatment” was given “to the president’s son during a criminal investigation into his taxes.”
Mr. Smith claimed DOJ officials engaged in a campaign to “delay, divulge, and deny” all allegations and investigations into the first son by allowing the statute of limitations to lapse, giving information to the president’s attorneys and transition team, and denying the ability to serve warrants and question witnesses.
Mr. Biden eventually agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor tax evasion and enter into a pretrial diversion program over his illegal purchase of a gun while addicted to drugs. He is expected to avoid prison. GOP lawmakers, including Speaker McCarthy, have called it “a sweetheart deal.”
The Democrats’ rebuttal messages at Wednesday’s hearing were succinct and coordinated. According to a memo first obtained by the Messenger before the hearing began, the committee’s minority party was planning to use Mr. Weiss’s own words to counteract the IRS whistleblowers’ claims while making equivalences between the alleged conduct of the Biden family and past conduct of President Trump.
“In several letters discussing the Hunter Biden investigation, U.S. Attorney Weiss has clearly expressed he has ‘been granted ultimate authority over this matter, including responsibility for deciding where, when, and whether to file charges,’” according to the memo. Democrats had long planned to discredit the claims as “a false narrative of political interference.”
The ranking member on the committee, Congressman Jamie Raskin, said his Republican colleagues are on an “Inspector Clouseau-style quest” to find information about alleged corruption.
Mr. Raskin also asserted that there is no evidence of corruption, but rather this is a story that proves that the younger Mr. Biden had “lost his way” amid his drug addiction and “made foolish and criminal choices” but is now “being held criminally accountable.” Mr. Raskin blamed the first son’s poor choices on the fact that he was “in the throes of addiction after the death of his brother,” Beau.