WASHINGTON ― President Joe Biden’s son sued the IRS on Monday over the recent release of private tax information.
In a complaint filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., Hunter Biden’s attorneys argue that “the IRS and its agents have conducted themselves under a presumption that the rights that apply to every other American citizen do not apply to Mr. Biden.”
Two IRS whistleblowers told Congress earlier this year that the Justice Department had stifled their long-running investigation into Biden’s failure to pay federal taxes.
Tax information is generally confidential, with criminal penalties for its release, with exceptions for certain situations ― including one that allows certain congressional committees to obtain private tax information and vote to make it public. Republicans in Congress cited that exception when they voted to make the whistleblower testimony public earlier this year, while the IRS agents have continued to speak out in media interviews.
“IRS agents have targeted and sought to embarrass Mr. Biden via public statements to the media in which they and their representatives disclosed confidential information about a private citizen’s tax matters,” Biden’s lawsuit alleges.
Biden planned to plead guilty to failing to pay taxes in 2017 and 2018, but a plea deal collapsed amid disagreements between his legal team and the government over the scope of his immunity from further charges. He has since been charged with illegally buying a gun and could still be indicted on the tax charges.
Monday’s complaint reflects the president’s son’s aggressive legal strategy and follows lawsuits against a computer repairman and a former Donald Trump administration official who have publicized the private contents of Biden’s personal laptop. Members of Congress have used the material to investigate Biden’s business practices and to display nude photos of the president’s son during a hearing this summer.
Republicans have used the IRS whistleblower testimony to argue that the Justice Department has a double standard that coddles the current president’s son while the former president faces multiple criminal indictments. The allegation has become part of an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives.
The complaint says the whistleblowers have gratuitously publicized Biden’s tax information in TV interviews outside of the congressional disclosure process, where they have disclosed information that wasn’t part of their testimony, such as an internal recommendation for a felony charge against Biden for a certain tax year.
The interviews provided “detailed allegations regarding the specific tax years under investigation, the amounts of deductions, the nature of those deductions, and allegations of liability regarding specific tax years and the amount thereof, that could only be known to them based on a review of the physical tax returns themselves,” the complaint says.
Recent testimony from FBI officials has cast doubt on some of the IRS whistleblower claims, including that David Weiss, the U.S. Attorney for for Delaware, said that it wasn’t up to him whether Biden could face charges outside of Delaware.
The House Oversight Committee, which has led the investigation into the Biden family, blasted the lawsuit in a statement.
“These IRS whistleblowers do not deserve the smear campaign Hunter Biden’s legal team is waging,” the committee said. “Witness intimidation is just another dirty tactic by the Hunter Biden legal team. Despite their games, our investigation will continue.”