Hunter Biden claims IRS illegally released his tax information

In the lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., the president's son says two IRS agents revealed his protected information in the media and in public appearances.

Hunter Biden filed a lawsuit against the IRS, claiming that two IRS agents illegally disclosed information about his tax problems. The two agents provided information about the alleged tax evasion by the president's son during his appearance before the House of Representatives and conducted interviews as part of the House investigation into the Biden family's business dealings.

Illegal disclosure of Hunter Biden's personal information

Hunter Biden says the IRS illegally disclosed his tax return information without putting appropriate safeguards in place to ensure the confidentiality of his records. For this reason, the president's son is demanding all documents relating to the disclosure of tax information, $1,000 for each unauthorized disclosure as well as attorneys' fees.

However, the brief, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., does not include Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler as defendants, the two IRS agents who made the returns. This is despite the fact that the lawsuit focuses on the information revealed by both agents and Biden's lawyers in public statements, congressional testimony, and interviews.

The lawsuit is about the decision by IRS employees, their representatives, and others to disregard their obligations and repeatedly and intentionally publicly disclose and disseminate Mr. Biden’s protected tax return information outside the exceptions for making disclosures in the law. 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. ... Since their public testimony before the House of Representatives on July 19, 2023, the agents have become regular guests on national media outlets and have made new allegations and public statements regarding Mr. Biden’s confidential tax return information that were not previously included in their transcripts before the Committee on Ways and Means..

Biden's lawyers add that "These agents’ putative ‘whistleblower’ status cannot and does not shield them from their wrongful conduct in making unauthorized public disclosures that are not permitted by the whistleblower process. In fact, a ‘whistleblower’ is supposed to uncover government misconduct, not the details of that employee’s opinion about the alleged wrongdoing of a private person." The lawsuit alleges that this is something that both agents did. According to the suit, Shapley and Ziegler voluntarily went beyond confirming the investigation by providing specific allegations, the amount of deductions made and the amounts owed for fiscal years.

Criticism of the GOP Judiciary Committee

The House Republican Judiciary Committee sharply criticized Hunter's move, calling it an attempt to "intimidate witnesses." In a publication on X, formerly known as Twitter, the House Judiciary GOP account emphasizes that, at no time in the lawsuit does the president's son deny the agents' accusations.