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Chairman Smith Questions Ways and Means Whistleblowers in Hunter Biden Investigation

July 21, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – In a stunning hearing before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, two IRS whistleblowers testified that the Department of Justice repeatedly acted to show Hunter Biden preferential treatment in their investigation into his alleged felony tax crimes. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) participated in the hearing with the two whistleblowers who previously provided over 14 hours of testimony to the Ways and Means Committee, which was made public last month.

For the first time in front of the American public, Gary Shapley and Joe Ziegler confirmed key details of their earlier testimony to the Ways and Means Committee of how the Justice Department obstructed and slowed down the Hunter Biden investigation. They confirmed the U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss privately stated he did not have the ultimate authority to charge Hunter Biden, in direct contradiction to Attorney General Garland’s public statements, and Weiss’ own public statements. The whistleblowers also reiterated how Joe Biden appears to have been involved in his son’s business dealings – including visiting a business lunch between Hunter Biden and a Chinese energy company and a 2017 message from Hunter Biden to the partner of a Chinese company that paid him $100,000.

Chairman Smith: IRS Employees Should Come to the Ways and Means Committee to Blow the Whistle 

Both whistleblowers raised their concerns multiple times internally at the IRS with the handling of the Hunter Biden investigation before coming to the Ways and Means Committee to expose the truth. As they testified, their concerns were brushed off, ignored, and dismissed. In his opening statement, Chairman Smith encouraged IRS employees who witness or have knowledge of wrongdoing in government to come forward and reveal the truth.

Chairman Smith:
I urge any IRS employee watching today: If you know of misconduct, please come to the Ways and Means Committee, so we can hold accountable those who are responsible. And let me be clear: There will be zero tolerance for any retaliation against whistleblowers by DOJ or the IRS. The American people expect answers about whether the federal government is treating all taxpayers equally or if the wealthy and politically connected get special treatment.”

Whistleblower Joe Ziegler: Until Hunter Biden Investigation, I’ve Never Been Told I Couldn’t Approach a Relevant Witness for an Interview

Over and over again, the Department of Justice delayed and denied the needed next steps in the Hunter Biden tax crimes investigation. Investigators were denied the ability to authenticate evidence, serve warrants, question witnesses, and bring charges. For Joe Ziegler, this was the first time he had encountered deliberate refusal of standard investigative steps in his career of working on criminal tax investigations.

Chairman Smith: “Mr. Ziegler, on page 32 of the transcript of your testimony, you discuss the need to interview Hunter Biden’s adult children regarding certain deductions that you listed earlier of Hunter Biden included on his tax returns. You also testified that Assistant United States Attorney Lesley Wolf told you that you would get into hot water if you interviewed the President’s grandchildren. In other cases that you’ve worked over your career, have you ever had a prosecutor tell you that you couldn’t interview a relevant witness?”

Mr. Ziegler: “There are certain things that come into whether we talk to a witness or not…But I’ve never been told that we couldn’t approach someone to interview them as a part of an investigation. I mean, there’s certain situations where you have to do a further analysis of the information that you might get, if they’re, like I said, if they’re an attorney, but yeah, so in this case, we needed to talk to witnesses related to things that were deducted on the tax return, and in this case, it was the adult children we needed to talk to.

Whistleblower Gary Shapley: U.S. Attorney David Weiss and DOJ Prosecutors Agreed Hunter Biden Should Be Charged with Multiple Felonies

Hunter’s sweetheart plea deal of a few misdemeanors came just days before the Ways and Means Committee released over 14 hours of testimony from the whistleblowers. Gary Shapley, a career public servant who led the Hunter Biden investigation at the IRS, recommended the Justice Department charge Hunter Biden with multiple felonies. It raises the question – how did multiple felony charges turn into a sweetheart plea deal for Hunter Biden?

Chairman Smith: “Were you surprised that on June 20, 2023, prosecutors announced a plea agreement with Hunter Biden under which he would only plead guilty to violations of two misdemeanor charges?”

Mr. Shapley: “The guilty plea is outside of my control. But what I can say is it’s not what an investigator thought, it’s not what special agent Ziegler or I thought that felony charges were proven in this case. The prosecutors again and again agreed with that assessment. United States Attorney Weiss also agreed with these, because he went to the D.C. U.S. Attorney to ask him to partner. You don’t ask someone to partner with you if you don’t yourself agree with those charges. And when he got denied that, he requested a special authority and was declined as he said in the October 7, 2022 meeting.”