Attorneys for IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley released a fact-check Tuesday debunking claims from Hunter Biden’s attorney regarding the investigation into President Joe Biden’s son.
Attorneys from Empower Oversight, an organization dedicated to protecting whistleblowers, corrected assertions Biden’s attorney Abbe Lowell made during interviews with CNN and CBS News regarding the ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden.
FULL FACT CHECK:
Empower Oversight highlighted Lowell’s defense of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation and Hunter Biden’s conduct. (RELATED: Top Hunter Biden Lawyer Christopher J. Clark Moves To Withdraw From Case After Plea Deal Collapses)
“You have five years, painstaking investigation, looking at every possible transaction that Mr. Biden was involved in, concluding that the only appropriate charges were two misdemeanors, and a diverted gun charge,” Lowell told former Daily Caller reporter Kaitlan Collins.
“Plea agreements frequently involve lesser charges than the government would seek to prove if it went to trial. In this case, the investigation referred to the Department of Justice in early 2019 was for felony tax evasion,” Empower Oversight’s fact check says.
“As a result of the investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware concurred in the IRS on February 25, 2022 recommending to the Justice Department Tax Division charging felony violations of 26 U.S.C. § 7201 (‘Attempt to evade or defeat tax’) and § 7206(1) (‘Fraud and false statements—Declarations under penalties of perjury’) for 2014, 2018, and 2019, as well as misdemeanor violations of 26 U.S.C. § 7203 (‘Willful failure to file return, supply information, or pay tax’) for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019,” the document adds.
In 2014, Biden attempted to hide an estimated $400,000 of income from Ukrainian energy firm Burisma by diverting the income to Rosemont Seneca Bohai, a holding company used by Biden and his former business associate Devon Archer, IRS whistleblower Joseph Ziegler testified to the House Ways and Means Committee in June.
Biden falsely claimed his payments to prostitutes, a sex club and the mother of his love child were business expenses in 2018 and he also failed to report withdrawals from a 529 college savings account the following year, Ziegler testified.
Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, the lead prosecutor on the Hunter Biden case, was unable to bring charges in Washington, D.C., and the Central District of California without assistance from the Biden-appointed U.S. attorneys in those districts, Shapley testified to House Ways and Means in May.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss special counsel in the Hunter Biden case Friday. Weiss proceeded to file a motion to move Hunter Biden’s tax charges from Delaware to D.C. or the Central District of California.
Biden’s legal team said in a Sunday filing the immunity provision in Biden’s diversion agreement is legally binding, despite Biden’s guilty plea agreement falling apart in court because of a dispute between DOJ prosecutors and Biden’s attorneys about the scope of his potential immunity. The DOJ said in a Tuesday legal filing the diversion agreement is not valid and blamed Hunter Biden for the plea agreement falling apart. (RELATED: ‘Entirely Of Their Own Making’: DOJ Prosecutors Blame Hunter Biden For Guilty Plea Falling Apart)
BREAKING: DOJ Prosecutors Say Hunter Biden’s diversion agreement with its immunity provision “never took effect” and blame Hunter Biden for the plea agreement falling apart @DailyCaller https://t.co/bcIiEbEoV8 pic.twitter.com/RUOuwOGHXM
— James Lynch (@jameslynch32) August 15, 2023
“Millions of Americans file their taxes late… So, there have been commentators who have pointed out that wasn’t for the fact that Hunter had the last name of Biden, he might, in fact, have been treated differently. But we understand that high-profile subjects of investigations get more scrutiny,” Lowell told Collins. He made similar claims on CBS regarding Biden’s treatment by prosecutors.
“The IRS handles civil enforcement surrounding late taxes very differently from its criminal investigations, which examine willful acts of evasion, material misstatements on falsely filed tax returns, and knowledge that one is committing a crime,” the fact check reads.
IRS whistleblowers Shapley and Ziegler testified about Hunter Biden getting “special treatment” because of his name, the opposite of Lowell’s version of events, according to the fact check.
“Against the objection of investigators, prosecutors removed Hunter Biden’s name from documents requests, court orders, and electronic search warrants, even while conceding this would result in them not obtaining all records. Search warrants for both Hunted Biden’s and his father’s residences were denied even though prosecutors acknowledged there was probable cause to obtain the warrants. Even an unintrusive search warrant for a storage unit was aborted when prosecutors tipped off defense counsel,” Empower Oversight said. (RELATED: Former FBI Agent Confirms Biden Transition Team Was Tipped Off To Hunter Biden Interview, Transcript Shows)
— Tristan Leavitt (@tristanleavitt) August 15, 2023
Hunter Biden’s proposed diversion agreement for his felony tax charge included an immunity provision that the DOJ admitted was “unprecedented” upon scrutiny from Delaware U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika, court transcripts show. Noreika’s scrutiny of the diversion agreement caused a dispute between Biden’s legal team and DOJ prosecutors, leading Biden’s plea deal to fall apart in late July. Biden ended up pleading not guilty to two tax misdemeanors, and his case is likely to go to trial.
Lowell also compared Hunter Biden’s situation to a civil case filed in Washington, D.C., in which an individual owed $8 million in taxes over an 11-year period. Empower Oversight said it believes Hunter’s case is comparable to former Baltimore City Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa, who was sentenced to 10 months in jail for tax evasion. Maryland U.S. Attorney Leo Wise recommended 12 months for De Sousa. Wise is now part of the Hunter Biden investigation.
“This group of prosecutors who are Republicans appointed by Donald Trump,” Lowell told CBS News on “Face the Nation.”
Then-President Donald Trump nominated Weiss with support from Democratic Delaware Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons. Weiss was then maintained by the Biden administration.
Assistant Delaware U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf, who allegedly covered for Hunter Biden during her time on the case, donated to Democratic candidates on multiple occasions, U.S. Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show.
“After five years and what we know happened in the grand jury, of course that had to be part of what the prosecutor has already looked at, as well as every other false allegation made by the right wing media and others, whether it’s corruption or FARA, or money laundering. That was part of what this prosecutor’s office had to have been looking over for five years,” continued on “Face the Nation.”
The DOJ failed to approve a search warrant into lobbying firm Blue Star strategies in September 2020, Shapley testified. The firm filed a Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) form in May 2022 showing two meetings with State Department officials on behalf of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma and its founder, Mykola Zlochevsky. Blue Star was recommended by Hunter Biden to Burisma executives while he was on the company’s board making more than $80,000 per month. Blue Star worked for Burisma from November 2015 to the spring of 2016, the form indicates. (RELATED: Burisma Lobbyists Recommended By Hunter Biden Didn’t Disclose Over $400,000 In Payments, Testimony Shows)
— James Lynch (@jameslynch32) July 25, 2023
DOJ prosecutor Wise did not rule out charging Biden under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for his foreign business dealings when Noreika pressed Wise about the proposed immunity provision in Biden’s diversion agreement.
“And so, the power that a Special Counsel has is the power that he has had. So, from a practical point of view, nothing really changed,” Lowell told Collins on CNN.
“Nevertheless, as described above, U.S. Attorney Weiss had no ability to bring charges on his own in the proper venues of the District of Columbia and the Central District of California. Special counsel authority grants him the ability to do so,” Empower Oversight’s fact check responds.
Lowell did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.