IRS Whistleblower Speaks Out: DOJ Tax Probe ‘Slowly Walked’ Involving Hunter Biden, Says

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An Internal Revenue Service whistleblower has spoken publicly for the first time about a highly sensitive political investigation he oversaw, which CBS News has determined is the ongoing investigation into the finances of President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

He said he became so concerned about prosecutors’ handling of a “high-profile and controversial” investigation that he felt compelled to sound the alarm.

“There were several steps that were taken slowly, they just weren’t taken completely, under the direction of the Justice Department,” said Gary Shapley, a 14-year veteran of the agency, who spoke exclusively to the correspondent CBS News Chief Investigative Jim Axelrod Tuesday. “When I took control of this particular investigation, I immediately saw deviations from the normal process. It was very outside the norm of what I have experienced in the past.”

EXCLUSIVE: In its first interview, CBS News sat down with the IRS agent who is alleging what he says was preferential treatment during a federal investigation that CBS has learned is tied to the president’s son, Hunter Biden. for possible tax crimes.

— CBS Evening News (@CBSEeveningNews) May 24, 2023

The accusations come more than three years in one Hunter Biden investigation which is being conducted in Delaware by a US Attorney appointed by then-President Trump and retained by President Biden to avoid any appearance of political bias. The investigation focuses on possible crimes related to outstanding tax debts related to income earned from a controversial time as a board member of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma while his father was vice president, and a possible false statement related to the purchase of a gun Last year CBS News reports that delinquent taxes were paid with a loan from high-powered Hollywood attorney Kevin Morris, who provided Hunter Biden with financial support.

Six months ago, an FBI leak revealed that agents there believed they had provided prosecutors with enough evidence to support criminal charges. No such charges have been filed as of this publication.

Shapley told CBS News he was growing concerned about the steps being taken that he said appeared to protect the target of the investigation, which CBS News independently confirmed is Hunter Biden.

“Each and every time, it always seemed to benefit the issue,” Shapley said. “It got to the point where the switch went on. And I just couldn’t silence my conscience anymore.”

Shapley is a supervisory special agent in the IRS’s criminal investigations department, currently overseeing a team of 12 agents specializing in international tax and financial crimes. Previously, he was an officer in the Office of the Inspector General of the National Security Agency. He was assigned to a “sensitive” investigation in January 2020, and within months, he said he became concerned about how the Justice Department was handling the investigation. CBS News has learned it was Hunter Biden’s investigation. Shapley says he started documenting his concerns around June 2020.

“For a couple of years, we had noticed these deviations in the investigative process. And I couldn’t, you know, fathom that the DOJ could be acting unethically in this,” he said.

Sound alarms

The existence of a whistleblower in the Hunter Biden investigation became known last month after one of Shapley’s lawyers, Mark Lytle, wrote to Congress to seek legal protection for his client, who at the time maintained his anonymity Without those protections, Shapley said he can’t share anything about a taxpayer investigation, including the subject’s identity, without violating tax secrecy laws.

Shapley is scheduled to appear before members of the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday, but his testimony will not be open to the public.

CBS News obtained a letter Shapley’s lawyers sent last week to the Office of Special Counsel, a federal agency dedicated to helping government whistleblowers. The letter alleges “irregularities” in the Justice Department’s handling of the case and cites a “charged meeting” Shapley’s team had with Justice Department prosecutors last October. According to the letter, after this meeting, Shapley’s team was effectively excluded from the investigation. Shapley would not say whether he brought his concerns to the attention of prosecutors, but acknowledged that the incident prompted him to blow the whistle.

“That was my red line meeting,” Shapley said. “It got to the point where the switch went on and I couldn’t silence my conscience anymore.”

In his April letter to Congress, Lytle said Shapley previously made disclosure statements to the IRS, the Treasury’s inspector general for the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department’s inspector general. He also wrote that his client would contradict sworn testimony “from a senior political official.” In his CBS News interview, Shapley declined to identify the sworn witness or name the political appointee.

Whistleblowers in Washington

In recent months, House Republicans have introduced federal officials who they said denounce perceived political interference from the Justice Department on other issues. The effort to highlight these concerns is the result of the House Judiciary Committee’s newly created subcommittee on the “weaponization” of government. Democrats have questioned the legitimacy of these claims, and Ranking Member Stacey Plaskett, D-US Virgin Islands, has referred to the subcommittee as “a political trick”.

Shapley told CBS News that he hasn’t taken money from anyone to decide to step forward. His legal effort is being assisted by a nonprofit whistleblower advocacy group with staff who have previously worked with Republicans in Congress, and is a registered Republican. But he said he has never been politically active. He says he has made no political donations or participated in political campaigns.

“I’m not involved in any of these things,” he said. “It’s not what I want to do. I’m just not a political person. This is a job, and my oath is to treat everyone we investigate fairly.”

Shapley may already be paying a price for his decision to speak out. His lawyers told Congress last week that he and his staff had been removed from the investigation “at the request of the Department of Justice.” He claims he has faced retaliation from IRS management. Additionally, Hunter Biden’s legal team has already accused him of breaking the law.

The White House declined to comment on the matter, but shared a previously released statement saying that President Biden “has made it clear that this matter would be handled independently by the Department of Justice, under the leadership of a prosecutor American appointed by former President Trump. Free from any political interference from the White House. He has kept that commitment.”

At a Senate hearing in March, Attorney General Merrick Garland promised not to interfere with the work of David Weiss, the United States Attorney for Delaware leading the Hunter Biden investigation.

“I promise to make sure that he is able to conduct his investigation and that he can conduct it,” Garland said on March 1.

Shapley did not say whether he was being investigated by the Justice Department in connection with the actions he has taken.

“If I was investigated, it would be retaliation for making a whistleblower report,” he said.

Spokesmen for both the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Delaware declined to comment.

The IRS also declined comment, saying, “Under federal law, the IRS cannot comment on specific taxpayer matters.” The agency’s statement added that it remains “deeply committed to protecting the role of whistleblowers, and that robust processes and procedures are in place to protect them.”

Shapley said she finds this new role, as a whistleblower, to be way out of her comfort zone and not something she wants to do. But he said he felt an obligation to come forward and report what he sees as a violation of his oath of office.

“When I saw the shame of some of these things, it didn’t become an option for me anymore,” he said. “It’s not something I want to do. It’s something I feel I have to do.”

He said his last motivation is what prompted him to pursue the work of criminal prosecution investigations in the first place.

“When taxpayers are treated differently and the subjects of investigations are treated differently,” he said, “I don’t see how it doesn’t affect the fairness of the system.”

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Jim Axelrod

Jim Axelrod

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