Second IRS Whistleblower Reveals Identity at Congress Hearing on Hunter Biden Probe

By Mark Tapscott
Mark Tapscott
Mark Tapscott
Congressional Correspondent
Mark Tapscott is an award-winning investigative editor and reporter who covers Congress, national politics, and policy for The Epoch Times. Mark was admitted to the National Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Hall of Fame in 2006 and he was named Journalist of the Year by CPAC in 2008. He was a consulting editor on the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series “Other Than Honorable” in 2014.
July 19, 2023Updated: July 19, 2023

A previously anonymous IRS whistleblower alleging political interference in the Hunter Biden probe revealed his identity as special agent Joseph Ziegler at a House Oversight Committee hearing on July 19.

Mr. Ziegler appeared publicly for the first time at the hearing, describing himself as a gay Democrat who has worked in the IRS Criminal Investigation Division for 13 years. He and IRS Supervisory Special Agent James Shapley had given closed-door testimony to another House panel alleging misconduct in the federal probe of Mr. Biden’s tax matters, and he was previously identified only as “Whistleblower X.”

Mr. Ziegler told lawmakers on July 19 that lawyers with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Tax Division recommended that felony and misdemeanor charges be brought against Hunter Biden for the 2017, 2018, and 2019 tax years.

“In Early August of 2022, federal prosecutors from [DOJ] drafted a 99-page memorandum. This memorandum recommended approving felony and misdemeanor charges for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 tax years. If the Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss followed DOJ Policy as he stated in his most recent letter, Hunter Biden should have been charged with a tax felony, and not only the tax misdemeanor charge. We need to treat each taxpayer the same under the law,” the whistleblower said in his prepared opening statement (pdf) before a hearing scheduled for July 19.

Mr. Shapley had previously told the House Ways and Means Committee that felony charge recommendations were ignored by DOJ officials.

Mr. Biden subsequently accepted a plea deal offered by the DOJ under which he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and admitted to failing to be truthful on his federal gun application. The deal means that Mr. Biden will likely avoid jail time. He’s scheduled to appear before a judge on July 26.

Mr. Biden’s attorney didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

Mr. Ziegler also said Mr. Biden’s tax return for 2018 claimed as business expenses spending he incurred while staying for six weeks in an exclusive hotel.

“During the 2020 time period, by Hunter Biden’s own account, he was sober, newly married, and writing his memoir. Hunter Biden’s accountants requested that he sign a representation letter stating that all deductions were for business purposes and were being reported appropriately. Statements Hunter Biden made in his book completely contradicted what was being deducted as business deductions on his 2018 tax return,” the prepared remarks read.

Epoch Times Photo
Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, looks on during a state dinner at the White House on June 22, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“While writing his memoir. Hunter Biden stated, ‘I holed up inside the Chateau for the first six weeks and learned how to cook crack.’ For this time period, Hunter Biden claimed business deductions for payments made to the Chateau Marmont, a hotel room for his supposed drug dealer, sex club memberships (falsely referenced on the wire as a golf membership), hotels he was blacklisted from, and a Columbia University tuition payment for his daughter.”

The witness also told committee members that Mr. Biden reported none of the income he received during his widely reported tenure as a member of the board of directors of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma.

“With respect to the 2014 tax year, Hunter Biden did not report any of the money he earned from Burisma for the 2014 tax year, which would have been a tax loss to the U.S. Treasury of $124,845,” the witness said.

Mr. Ziegler decided to become a whistleblower regarding the Biden case only after “multiple attempts at blowing the whistle internally at the IRS,” he said.

“In coming forward, I am risking my career, my reputation and my casework outside of this investigation,” he said.

In what appears to be a direct contradiction of public assurances by Attorney General Merrick Garland and IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel that there would be no retaliation against whistleblowers in the government, Mr. Ziegler said he believes that he’s being targeted.

“I believe that the Delaware [U.S. Attorney, David Weiss,] and DOJ-Tax have a clear target on me and my supervisors’ back, and I believe that they are just waiting for an opportunity to pounce on us. My own agency retaliated against me and threatened me with criminal conduct in response to an internal email I sent to IRS leadership, even after years of essentially being left on an island when it came to this investigation,” Mr. Ziegler said.

“It is not my desire to become a martyr for this case—and I fear effectively ending my career. I did not ask to be in this position, nor did I want to be.”