Friday, 22 September 2023

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Hunter Biden sues IRS over tax information disclosures

Hunter Biden sues IRS over tax information disclosures

Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, departs federal court after a plea hearing on two misdemeanor charges of willfully failing to pay income taxes in Wilmington, Delaware, July 26, 2023.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Hunter Biden filed a lawsuit Monday accusing IRS agents of “repeatedly and intentionally” publicly sharing his private tax return information while they criminally investigate him.

Those agents “have targeted and sought to embarrass Mr. Biden” by disclosing confidential information about his private tax matters to the media, the president’s son alleged in the civil suit in federal court in Washington, D.C.

Biden wants a court to declare that the IRS unlawfully revealed his tax information and award him $1,000 in damages for each unauthorized disclosure.

The lawsuit comes days after Biden, 53, was indicted on three criminal counts related to his possession of a handgun.

Less than two months earlier, Biden had neared a plea deal with prosecutors on misdemeanor charges that he failed to pay federal taxes on more than $1.5 million annually in 2017 and 2018. He was also prepared to enter into a separate pretrial diversion agreement related to the gun matter.

But the whole arrangement fell apart during a dramatic court hearing in July.

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Biden’s attorney insisted in Monday’s court filing that the new lawsuit against the IRS “is not about the legitimacy of the IRS investigation of Mr. Biden over the past five years or any decision to penalize Mr. Biden for any failure to comply with his obligations under the tax laws.”

The 27-page complaint singles out two IRS agents, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, and their lawyers for allegedly “engaging in a campaign to publicly smear Mr. Biden” by disclosing his tax information in more than 20 nationally televised interviews and multiple public statements.

Shapley and Ziegler had stepped forward as whistleblowers to accuse the Department of Justice of misconduct related to the yearslong tax probe of President Joe Biden‘s son. But their conduct extended beyond the bounds of their whistleblower status, Hunter Biden’s attorney alleged.

Shapley’s legal team in a statement Monday morning called the lawsuit “another frivolous smear by Biden family attorneys trying to turn people’s attention away from Hunter Biden’s own legal problems and intimidate any current and future whistleblowers.”

Neither Shapley nor his attorneys “ever released any confidential taxpayer…

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