Hunter Biden Says IRS Invaded His Privacy After Agents Disclosed His Tax Records
WASHINGTON — Presidential son Hunter Biden sued the Internal Revenue Service on Monday for what he calls an invasion of his privacy even as he faces unrelated felony gun charges.
Biden’s lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia accuses IRS agents of illegally disclosing his tax records in public statements.
The lawsuit names two agents, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, for their statements about Biden in congressional testimony and in media interviews.
They testified in closed door hearings before congressional committees in May and June amid allegations the Biden family is using the presidency of Joe Biden to enrich themselves, sometimes using cover-ups to hide their business and financial affairs.
The president has denied any affiliation with his son’s questionable business dealings. He called the allegations “a smear campaign.”
Shapley and Ziegler claimed whistleblower status in their statements to Congress. Federal law grants whistleblowers immunity from prosecution or job retaliation.
IRS agent Shapley told CBS News that Hunter Biden claimed personal expenses as business expenses for which he owes $2.2 million in back taxes. The personal expenses included “prostitutes, sex club memberships [and] hotel rooms for purported drug dealers,” the IRS agent said during the interview.
Prosecutors say Hunter Biden received $2.4 million in 2017 and $2.1 million in 2018 from Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, a Chinese energy company, as well as U.S. business interests and legal services.
Biden’s lawsuit does not contest the accuracy of the statements, only whether the IRS agents could lawfully disclose his tax returns.
“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,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit seeks $1,000 for each unauthorized disclosure and attorneys fees.
When CBS News asked Hunter Biden about his business dealings in April, he said, “I’m cooperating, completely. And I’m absolutely certain, 100% certain, that at the end of the investigation, that I will be cleared of any wrongdoing.”
Many of the allegations began with Hunter Biden’s emails, obtained by The New York Post in August 2017. They showed he received a $10 million annual fee from a Chinese billionaire for “introductions alone.”
Other emails indicated the “introductions” refer to his father.
Shapley’s attorneys say Hunter Biden is using his father’s influence to try to get the Justice Department to retaliate against the IRS agents, despite the whistleblower protections of federal law.
“Taxpayer privacy laws are written by Congress, and it gave itself authority in those laws to hear disclosures about taxpayer information,” Shapley’s attorney said in a statement.
Hunter Biden reached a plea deal in June to plead guilty to two tax evasion misdemeanors. He faces the possibility of more serious tax charges as a Justice Department investigation of him continues.
In addition, he was indicted last week on three felony gun counts after he allegedly made false statements when he applied for a gun permit. He claimed on the application he was not a drug user despite other evidence he was addicted to illegal street drugs.