Lawyers for Hunter Biden filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service on Monday claiming that the agency disclosed private tax return information in violation of U.S. law.
The lawsuit specifically names IRS agents Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, who have been heralded by Republicans as whistleblowers for claiming that the Department of Justice did not want to follow their recommendations to press charges against Biden for tax fraud.
The new lawsuit states that Shapley and Ziegler made a number of public statements and interviews regarding Biden's taxes.
"Mr. Biden is the son of the President of the United States. He has all the same responsibilities as any other American citizen, and the IRS can and should make certain that he abides by those responsibilities," Biden's attorneys wrote in a federal court filing. "Similarly, Mr. Biden has no fewer or lesser rights than any other American citizen, and no government agency or government agent has free reign to violate his rights simply because of who he is. Yet the IRS and its agents have conducted themselves under a presumption that the rights that apply to every other American citizen do not apply to Mr. Biden."
Last week, Biden was charged on three counts involving misuse of a firearm. Two of the charges stem from a false statement Hunter Biden allegedly gave a gun dealer in Delaware in 2018. In a third charge, federal prosecutors alleged that Biden knowingly possessed a firearm while unlawfully using a narcotic.
Earlier this year, Biden agreed to plead guilty to two violations of failure to pay income tax and one violation of unlawful possession of a firearm by a person prohibited. But a federal judge questioned and ultimately threw out the charges. That agreement with prosecutors unraveled when the judge in the case raised concerns about the deal. The judge called the deal "confusing" and "not straightforward."
Prosecutors said Biden made $1.5 million annually in calendar years 2017 and 2018 but did not pay the over $100,000 in taxes owed each year.
In testimony to Congress in July, Shapley said the investigation into Biden's taxes was handled differently than others.
“I am here to tell you that the Delaware USAO and Department of Justice handling of the Hunter Biden tax investigation was very different from any other case in my 14 years at the IRS," Shapley said. "In this country, we believe in the rule of law, and that applies to everyone. There should not be a two-track justice system depending on who you are and who you’re connected to."
Biden's attorneys said they dispute many of the allegations made by Shapley and Ziegler.
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