Hunter Biden sues IRS over release of his tax records
Updated September 18, 2023 at 8:39 AM ET
Hunter Biden sued the IRS over claims that the federal agency unlawfully released his confidential tax return information and failed to safeguard his private records, a new federal lawsuit reveals.
He is seeking all documents tied to the disclosure of his tax information and $1,000 for each unauthorized release of his private information, among other things.
The complaint alleges that IRS agents "have targeted and sought to embarrass Mr. Biden via public statements to the media in which they and their representatives disclosed confidential information about a private citizen's tax matters."
The lawsuit doesn't name those IRS agents, but it's clearly referring to the disclosures of Gary Shapely and Joseph Ziegler, who publicly said the U.S. Justice Department gave Biden preferential treatment. The two also took their complaints to a House committee.
Biden's filing comes days after the president's son was indicted on felony gun charges after a plea deal he struck with prosecutors fell apart. Earlier this year, Biden agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor offenses related to his filing of federal income taxes. Federal authorities also charged him with a felony firearm offense, for which he agreed to enter a pretrial diversion agreement that allows him to avoid prosecution.
But that deal fell apart in July when the judge in the case demanded that lawyers from both sides make clear that the deal did not convey broad immunity offered to Biden from prosecution on his business dealings and foreign lobbying.
"This lawsuit is not about the legitimacy of the IRS investigation of Mr. Biden over the past five years or any decision to penalize Mr. Biden for any failure to comply with his obligations under the tax laws," Biden's attorneys wrote in the complaint.
The lawsuit is also not about the federal whistleblower statute or the ability of an "official using those procedures properly to make disclosures to authorized government officials," the lawsuit said.
"Rather, 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 complaint said."
Biden's attorneys filed the lawsuit in a federal court in Washington, D.C.
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