Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, has filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Monday, accusing the agency of violating his privacy rights. The lawsuit comes in response to the IRS disclosing details about his taxes and the investigation into his conduct to Congress and the public. The suit also follows Hunter Biden's recent indictment on separate charges related to his purchase of a handgun in 2018.
The decision to proceed with the lawsuit demonstrates Hunter Biden's determination to counter inquiries from congressional Republicans, even as he faces potential further prosecution on tax charges by the Justice Department during his father's re-election campaign. The suit, filed in Federal District Court in Washington, argues that the IRS investigators breached taxpayer privacy rules and intentionally sought to embarrass Hunter Biden by disclosing confidential information about his tax matters.
The lawsuit highlights the public testimony and statements made by two IRS investigators, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, who have been providing information to House committees investigating President Biden and his family for potential wrongdoing. Ziegler has claimed that the Justice Department's inquiry into Hunter Biden's taxes was influenced by politics, a statement disputed by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and U.S. Attorney for Delaware David C. Weiss, who oversees the case.
The lawsuit asserts that Hunter Biden has the same responsibilities as any other American citizen and that the IRS should ensure that he complies with those responsibilities. It argues that he has the same rights as any other citizen and that no government agency or agent should be allowed to violate those rights based on his identity. The lawsuit challenges the argument made by the IRS agents, their lawyers, and House Republicans that the disclosures were protected as whistleblowing and were authorized by the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax issues.
Hunter Biden's lawsuit disputes the legality of the disclosures made to Congress, claiming that the agents and their lawyers also revealed details about the investigation in more than 20 interviews and public statements to the media. The suit argues that their status as whistleblowers does not shield them from unauthorized public disclosures that violate the whistleblower process.
The lawsuit reveals that the IRS agents disclosed information potentially damaging to Hunter Biden and his father beyond the disclosures made to Congress. It references a search warrant that uncovered evidence of Hunter Biden invoking his father's name while pressuring a Chinese businessman to proceed with an energy deal. Hunter Biden's plea deal with the Justice Department, which would have seen him pleading guilty to misdemeanor tax charges and avoiding a gun charge, fell apart during a court hearing in July. Last week, he was indicted on three counts related to violating gun laws for allegedly lying about his drug use when purchasing a handgun in Delaware five years ago. He may also face tax charges for late filing and disputed deductions.
In addition to the lawsuit against the IRS, Hunter Biden has also filed a separate lawsuit against a former White House aide from the Trump administration, alleging the aide's involvement in the publication of embarrassing images and emails. The lawsuits come amid an impeachment inquiry against President Biden led by House Republicans, who are investigating potential connections between Hunter Biden's business practices and his father's policies during his tenure as vice president.
The IRS has not yet responded to the lawsuit, and the House Judiciary Committee, led by Republicans, has deemed it "intimidation." It remains to be seen how the legal battle will unfold for Hunter Biden, who has become the first child of a sitting U.S. president to face criminal charges.
themes: Joe Biden Washington Delaware