Republican Missouri Rep. Jason Smith, who chairs the House Ways & Means Committee, is opposing Hunter Biden’s efforts to keep the IRS whistleblower disclosures from being used in the government’s tax avoidance case against him.
Smith’s counsel wrote to Delaware U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika on July 31 in opposition to Hunter Biden’s motion to keep testimony from IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler under seal for allegedly containing confidential taxpayer and grand jury materials. (RELATED: IRS Whistleblowers Say They Were Kept Out Of DOJ Meetings Touted By Hunter Biden’s Attorneys)
Biden family lawyers continue to smear the IRS WBs w/ false claims that their protected disclosures were criminal.
Full filing here: https://t.co/15suEorxqw
— DefendWhistleblowers.com (@JsnFostr) August 1, 2023
“Despite this Court giving Defendant Robert Hunter Biden (“Defendant”) the opportunity to identify what materials he believes to be confidential taxpayer and grand jury materials, Defendant has failed to do so,” the letter from Smith’s counsel reads.
“Defendant’s counsel has threatened Chairman Smith and his counsel with sanctions and claimed that the filing was ‘illegal’ and that the materials must be removed from the docket. While the Court gave Defendant the benefit of the doubt and allowed him to identify which materials he claims should not have been publicly filed, Defendant failed to do so. Defendant’s Motion must be denied,” the filing adds.
Hunter Biden’s counsel filed a motion on July 26 to keep the IRS whistleblower testimony sealed after amicus briefs containing the whistleblower materials were filed ahead of Biden’s July 26th court appearance where he was expected to plead guilty to misdemeanor tax charges.
“These filings include several hundred pages of exhibits containing allegations, innuendo, and unverified claims regarding Defendant and the very matters before the Court. Defense counsel wishes to maintain these materials under seal, to protect Defendant from the disclosure on the public docket of potentially prejudicial information about an ongoing criminal matter,” Biden’s motion reads.
Smith’s opposition filing asserts that Hunter Biden did not provide details about what specific information from the IRS whistleblowers should be kept confidential. (RELATED: Hunter Biden Prosecutor Once Demanded Jail Time For Tax Cheat With Similar Charges)
“Defendant identifies no purported grand jury or tax return information. Indeed, Defendant does not even cite to a page number of the AmicusFiling —let alone any specific information on any certain page,” Smith’s filing says.
“It is unsurprising that Defendant was not able to identify any secret grand jury information within the Whistleblower materials: the Whistleblowers were represented by competent counsel who were careful not to submit any such information to the Committee,” the document adds.
The IRS whistleblower information was removed from the court docket after Jessica Bengals, a staffer for Latham & Watkins LLP, called the Clerk’s Office and allegedly “misrepresented her identity” by describing herself as someone who worked with Rep. Smith’s attorney, Judge Noreika said in a July 25 order.
She called the Clerk’s Office right after Smith filed an amicus brief asking Noreika to consider the IRS whistleblower testimony because it shows that Hunter Biden “appears to have benefited from political interference” by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
As a result, the IRS whistleblower filing was temporarily sealed and Biden was given until July 26 to identify the information that should be sealed and explain why it must be kept hidden, Smith’s latest filing states.
Bengals said in a sworn affidavit that she did not mischaracterize her identity, and a partner at Latham & Watkins attributed the dispute to a “miscommunication” in a July 25 letter to Noreika. The Judge issued an order on July 28 directing that all issues with the Hunter Biden case be brought to her directly, in order to prevent “misrepresentations” moving forward.
Shapley and Ziegler have testified before House Ways & Means about how the DOJ appeared to slow-walk and obstruct the Hunter Biden investigation, based on their detailed knowledge of the case and Hunter Biden’s business dealings. Shapley also accused Biden’s attorneys of spreading “false statements” about him in a letter to Smith that appeared to contain multiple falsehoods.