The House Ways and Means Committee authorized two attorneys representing the Internal Revenue Service whistleblower to examine Hunter Biden’s tax returns and related documents. This news is intensifying the belief that the Justice Department has been shielding the Biden family.
According to Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, it is required to maintain the confidentiality of all federal tax returns and their associated information. It is illegal for any employee or officer of the IRS to disclose this information. Some think that Section 6103’s confidentiality rule stops government employees from disclosing information about a taxpayer’s investigation. However, Hunter Biden acknowledged the investigation into his tax affairs in public after federal prosecutors demanded his business records in December 2020; the public has long been aware of the president’s son’s investigation.
There are several exceptions to Section 6103’s confidentiality provisions. The legislative exemption allowing whistleblowers to submit sensitive material to the House Ways and Means Committee or the Senate Finance Committee is relevant here. This exemption protects government agents who report secret information about tax concerns to any of these committees as whistleblowers.
Although the Section 6103 exception allows a whistleblower to disclose information, it does not grant them the right to share it with their attorney. Therefore, the whistleblower may be required to appear before the committees without the assistance of legal counsel. In addition, Section 6103 of the law defines “return information” as including income sources, data gathered by the IRS, and any documents or determinations made by the IRS. This means that the whistleblower is prohibited from discussing many of the investigation details with their attorney to prepare for testimony in front of congressional committees.
In this context, Mark Lytle, a lawyer representing the IRS whistleblower, wrote a letter to several congressional committees’ chairs and ranking members. He offered to share information that proves politics interfered with a criminal investigation of a well-known and controversial individual. This person is likely Hunter Biden, who confirmed a federal investigation into his tax matters in 2020.
The letter emphasized that, due to tax privacy regulations, the IRS whistleblower had “refrained from sharing certain information” with Lytle while obtaining legal guidance. According to Lytle, not having a complete understanding of the matter has made it challenging to make well-informed decisions about the best course of action. In his letter, Lytle asked the committees to work together with him. He wants his client to be able to share information with Congress in a legal and well-informed manner. Lytle also offered to meet with them to provide more detailed information about what his client can offer to Congress, as long as there are appropriate legal protections and the right setting.
Again, understanding Section 6103 is critical to grasp the relevance of this language and last week’s development. As previously stated, Section 6103 allowed the whistleblower to disclose private taxpayer information with two designated committees but not with Lytle or any other attorney. Section 6103(f)(4), on the other hand, allows the Ways and Means and Finance Committees’ chairman to have the authority to assign an “agent” to review tax returns and related information.
In other words, the committees might appoint the whistleblower’s attorneys as their “agents,” allowing the whistleblower to share the tax information freely and openly with his lawyers. The whistleblower’s lawyers may provide more information to the committees about the details in private.
As a result, the Ways and Means Committee recently approved two of the whistleblower’s attorneys to view the tax documents last week is huge: Allowing them to avoid a long legal dispute over the conditions under which the whistleblower would testify. It also assures that the House committee receives the whistleblower’s allegations immediately.
Given that the Republican-controlled House permitted the whistleblower’s attorneys access to and discuss the tax returns and tax information, authorization from the Democratic-controlled Senate Finance Committee would be unnecessary. The Finance Committee probably joined the investigation to have a part in it. Senator Ron Wyden, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, has not disclosed whether he authorized the whistleblower’s attorneys to access Section 6103 power.
There is no timeframe for the following stages. According to a reliable source, the whistleblower’s lawyers may offer information to the House Ways and Means Committee this week, and the whistleblower might testify soon after. The closed-door testimony might then become public, either because the House Committee determines it is not secret information under Section 6103 or because the House Committee decides to reveal it publicly, as authorized by legislation.
According to reports, Hunter Biden’s lawyers met with federal prosecutors last Wednesday. This may have been done to prepare for the possibility of the alleged political protection scheme being exposed publicly. This scheme involved two U.S. attorneys appointed by Biden who chose not to pursue a grand jury indictment against the president’s son. It’s unclear if they were on a fishing expedition or seeking to hastily arrange a plea agreement to end the crisis, but a deal is unlikely to end the consequences for two reasons.
First, the statute of limitations on some of the tax claims has probably expired. In this case, congressional oversight committees would likely investigate if politics resulted in missed opportunities to pursue possibly more severe crimes. Second, the whistleblower’s assertions extend beyond Hunter Biden’s tax case.
According to Lytle’s letter, the whistleblower has given evidence of situations where personal connections and politics have influenced decisions and protocols that would typically be followed by law enforcement professionals in similar circumstances. Sources familiar with the case have provided additional details, claiming that certain employees at the DOJ had restricted the questions, witnesses, and tactics that investigators can use, which could potentially affect President Biden. These sources suggest that the Justice Department and FBI headquarters have inappropriately politicized the matter.
Thus, the whistleblower’s allegations go far beyond Hunter Biden’s tax case. Although the investigation will begin there, it will not end there. With whistleblower attorneys able to directly interact with the House Ways and Means Committee, the timetable for exposing individuals participating in covering for the Bidens has decreased significantly.