By Diego Ramos / Original to ScheerPost
After pleading guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges this week, Hunter Biden faces new scrutiny after two IRS whistleblowers allege extensive misconduct in the handling of his tax investigation. Biden failed to pay tax on more than $3 million in income. His plea helps him “avoid full prosecution on a separate gun possession charge,” according to a CBS report.
Gary Shapley, one of two IRS whistleblowers—the second remains anonymous—testified to the House Ways and Means Committee that the IRS substantiated the need for stricter penalties and Biden was given a sweetheart deal. “I am alleging, with evidence, that DOJ provided preferential treatment, slow-walked the investigation, did nothing to avoid obvious conflicts of interest in this investigation,” Shapley testified.
Shapley also spoke with Jim Axelrod of CBS and said:
“This recommended felony tax evasion charges, that’s 7201, is tax evasion, and 7206(1) is a false tax return, also a felony, for the tax years 2014, 2018, and 2019. And for Title 26 7203, which is a failure to file or pay, that is a misdemeanor charge for ’15, ’16, ’17, ’18, and ’19.”
Shapley also revealed in his testimony alleged WhatsAPP messages between Biden and Henry Zhao—a Chinese businessman with whom Biden was involved in a business deal—where Biden threatens Zhao uses his father, Joe’s, name:
“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight. And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father.”
It is not known if Joe Biden was present. The WhatsAPP message, from July 30th, 2017, was obtained through a search warrant but was not within the material Biden’s team handed to federal prosecutors in response to grand jury subpoenas.
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Shapley also mentioned in his testimony:
“I believe Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate should come together to examine these facts by interviewing other witnesses and reviewing documents to fully understand what happened during this five-year long investigation. I fulfilled my oath of office by participating in this process, following the rules, and telling the truth to the best of my ability—despite the risks.”
GOP House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith claims Delaware U.S Attorney David Weiss, appointed by then-President Donald Trump and kept by the Biden administration on the probe, has not had full independence in regard to this investigation and points to testimony from the whistleblowers as evidence.
“The testimony we have just released details a lack of U.S. attorney independence, recurring unjustified delays, unusual actions outside the normal course of any investigation,” Smith said in a CBS report. Smith points to charges Weiss attempted to bring in the District of Columbia and in the Central District of California that were denied as well as his special counsel status that was denied as well.
According to a New York Times report, “The two investigators, one of whom described himself as a Democrat, told Congress of a lengthy period of strife between them and others involved in the investigation. They said a particular prosecutor at the Justice Department blocked some of their efforts and communicated too much information to Hunter Biden’s legal team.”
The Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland have reiterated Weiss’ authority and independence in the case. House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Democrat Richard Neal rejected the ideas presented in the testimonies stating:
“Two interviews do not make an investigation when more than 50 employees were named, especially when you consider that one recanted key elements of his testimony earlier this week…It’s all premature, and the rush shows how pretextual this is in this stunning abuse of power.”
Diego Ramos, ScheerPost managing editor and New York bureau chief, is a journalist from Queens, NY. He graduated from the University of Southern California in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has previously worked at BuzzFeed News and was managing editor of Annenberg News at USC. He’s covered and researched myriad topics including war, politics, psychedelic research and sports.