Press Release
May 17, 2024

WASHINGTON – IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler have taken the significant step with the United States District Court in Washington, D.C. to file a motion to intervene in the Hunter Biden lawsuit against the IRS to ensure their interests are represented in the lawsuit.

The whistleblowers filed the motion to intervene so they can do what the IRS has failed to do: make clear that their protected disclosures were legal, pursuant to whistleblower protection laws, and critical to safeguarding the principle of equal treatment under the law regardless of party or familial relationship.

Biden’s lawsuit against the IRS wrongly alleges that Shapley and Ziegler violated tax secrecy and federal privacy statutes.  Despite the allegations being clearly without merit, the IRS has refused to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety.  This has raised questions about whether the IRS or the Justice Department are using the lawsuit to retaliate against Shapley and Ziegler for their whistleblower disclosures.

Through their supervisors and eventually the U.S. Congress under Section 6103 of the U.S. Tax Code, Shapley and Ziegler made protected disclosures about preferential treatment being given to Hunter Biden. The law generally makes tax return information confidential, but also makes clear that IRS whistleblowers can make disclosures to certain congressional committees, including the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committee. In accordance with that statute, both of these committees authorized Shapley and Ziegler to disclose protected information to their attorneys and to the committees. Ultimately, the Ways and Means Committee publicly published the transcripts and exhibits of the whistleblowers’ closed-door testimonies.

As the filing says, “[A]s long as they have no official voice before this Court, Shapley and Ziegler have no opportunity to be heard, to explain the legal and factual bases authorizing their conduct, or to correct false or inaccurate claims made by either Plaintiff Hunter Biden or the IRS.”

The IRS has already retaliated by improperly removing Shapley and Ziegler from the Hunter Biden investigation and has improperly—and inaccurately—implied to the public that they are subjects of “potential ongoing investigation(s)” that “may involve allegations of wrongdoing” in the case.

Biden, the IRS and the Justice Department appear aligned in a desire the punish the whistleblowers for their lawful disclosures. Along with Biden’s attorneys, who have pressured the Justice Department to investigate Shapley and Ziegler, the Justice Department also has an interest in retaliating against Shapley and Ziegler for the disclosures regarding the handling of the Biden case. These institutional conflicts necessitate Shapley and Ziegler representing their own interests in the litigation.

Shapley is represented in this case by Mark Lytle of Nixon Peabody, Tristan Leavitt of Empower Oversight, and Justin Gelfand and Gregory Bailey of Margulis Gelfand. Ziegler is represented by John Rowley of Secil Law.

The Motion to Intervene can be found here.

The Support for the Motion to Dismiss can be found here.