IRS chief Daniel Werfel denies interference in Hunter Biden investigation as lawmakers hear from whistleblower
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Daniel Werfel has denied Congress retaliated against a whistleblower who accused federal prosecutors of shielding Hunter Biden in a tax evasion investigation.
Mr. Werfel defended himself ahead of the IRS whistleblower’s closed-door testimony to Congress about “irregularities” in a Justice Department investigation of the president’s son.
Werfel told lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee in a May 17 letter that he had no role in changing the work assignment of the IRS whistleblower who raised concerns regarding the investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings. He noted that the whistleblower claims the reassignment came at the direction of the Justice Department.
“I want to state unequivocally that I have not intervened – and will not intervene – in any way that would impact the status of a whistleblower,” Mr. Werfel said.
“Generally and not in reference to any specific case, I think it’s important to emphasize that in any matter involving federal legal proceedings, the IRS follows the direction of the Department of Justice.”
Fox News first reported on the letter.
The IRS oversight officer will be questioned on Friday behind closed doors by members of the Ways and Means Committee. Republicans said the developments are signs of an attempt to shield the president’s son from possible criminal prosecution.
“The IRS pulled out an entire team investigating Hunter,” Rep. Lance Gooden, Republican of Texas, tweeted. “Democrats seek to outsmart whistleblowers. 51 “intelligence officials” lied about Hunter’s laptop. What are they trying to hide?
A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment for this story.
Last week, attorneys for the IRS supervisory special agent told Congress that the Justice Department retaliated against him by removing the supervisory agent and his entire team from the investigation. The supervisory officer alleges federal prosecutors were politically motivated and shielding Hunter Biden by preventing charges from being filed.
“He has been advised that the change was at the request of the Department of Justice,” the whistleblower’s attorneys, Mark Lytle and Tristan Leavitt, wrote in a letter to congressional leaders.
The years-long investigation into Hunter Biden focuses on his taxes and whether he made a false statement regarding a 2018 gun purchase. Hunter Biden has denied any wrongdoing.
In a separate letter to the Office of Special Counsel, Mr. Leavitt also revealed that the IRS oversight officer told federal prosecutors during a busy meeting last October about the “long-standing concerns” of the investigators regarding what they believed to be irregularities in the handling of Justice Department criminal records. Hunter Biden probe. The letter does not disclose the IRS supervisor’s specific concerns, but says he began making “protected disclosures” about the investigation in the summer of 2020.
After the IRS oversight officer raised the concerns again in a phone call with prosecutors last October, he and his team of investigators were “no longer invited to any further calls and prosecution team meetings on the case, effectively excluding them from the case,” Mr. Leavitt wrote.
Going forward, the IRS team was only able to get updates on the investigation when another officer reached out to the US attorney overseeing the investigation, according to Mr Leavitt. Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney David Weiss of Delaware is handling the Hunter Biden investigation.