WASHINGTON, D.C. – New information provided by a key Internal Revenue Service (IRS) whistleblower’s counsel alleges that an IRS employee is being retaliated against — a potential violation of whistleblower protection laws — for seeking to share information with Congress. The whistleblower previously sent a letter, through legal counsel, to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) requesting an investigation into concerns regarding allegations of misconduct in the handling of a high-profile case at the IRS and the Department of Justice.
On April 27, 2023, during a hearing before the Committee on Ways & Means, under questioning from Chairman Smith, IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel pledged to Congress that there would be no such retaliation against this or any whistleblower seeking to make disclosures to Congress. The new communication from the whistleblower’s counsel raises serious concerns about whether Commissioner Werfel is honoring that pledge, notes Chairman Smith in a new statement:
“This most recent communication concerning allegations of retaliatory actions against a whistleblower, appears to contradict the sworn testimony by Commissioner Werfel who pledged that whistleblower protections would be upheld. Congress’s duty to hold government agencies accountable relies on the availability and willingness of individuals to speak out about wrongdoing. Not only does retaliation like this discourage whistleblowers, it can also rise to the level of an illegal violation of statutory protections for whistleblowers. I call on Commissioner Werfel to abide by his pledge, quickly provide information to Congress in response to these allegations, and ensure that no action is taken to discourage those who attempt to shine a light on government misconduct.”
During a hearing on accountability and transparency at the IRS, Ways and Means members questioned Commissioner Werfel about the agency’s commitment to protect whistleblowers. While the Committee continues to review recent claims about political interference at the IRS, Chairman Smith demanded Commissioner Werfel pledge that there will be no retaliation taken against this whistleblower.
Chairman Smith: “As we discussed previously, we set up an online whistleblower portal for IRS personnel wishing to share information with the Committee. I continue to urge you to let your employees know about the portal. I believe it will encourage agency personnel who witnessed wrongdoing to come forward. And just this last week, we received outreach from an IRS whistleblower requesting the Committee look into concerns the individual has about allegations of misconduct. Can you commit that there will be no retaliation against that whistleblower?”
Commissioner Werfel: “I can say without any hesitation, there will be no retaliation for anyone making an allegation or called into a whistleblower hotline.”