Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal challenged the integrity of IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley and his work on the ongoing Hunter Biden case.
Neal, the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, released a statement Friday attacking Shapley and Republicans on the committee ahead of Shapley and IRS whistleblower Joseph Ziegler’s upcoming testimony. His press release appears to omit significant details from the witness testimony related to Shapley’s removal from the Hunter Biden case and his decision to come forward. (RELATED: ‘Coordinated Campaign’: Jim Jordan And James Comer Deliver Scathing Fact Check To Hunter Biden’s Attorney)
“I struggle to call House Republicans’ fishing expedition an investigation when it’s been run without any investigating. It’s been nearly a year of recycling debunked conspiracy theories in hopes the public will start to believe their lies. No evidence, no wrongdoing. In the Ways and Means Committee, we had whistleblowers come forward, we heard them out, and their claims were refuted by several top officials,” Neal stated.
“Next week’s closed-door session is a meek attempt to rehabilitate credibility to bolster House Republicans flailing inquiry. There is no new information to share, and the American people deserve the transparency of an open hearing.”
His statement cites testimony given to the Ways and Means Committee by Darrell Waldon and Michael Batdorf, two IRS officials who worked with Shapley on the Hunter Biden case and spoke to the committee in September. (RELATED: Biden White House Sends Democrats Fresh Impeachment Inquiry Talking Points)
Neal uses selective excerpts from their testimony to defend the integrity of the ongoing Hunter Biden investigation and claim Shapley was removed by the IRS officials from the case because the Hunter Biden case was dormant.
However, his press release does not mention Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss’ apparent role in having Shapley removed from the case, as the Daily Caller previously reported.
Weiss and Shapley developed a rift that led to Batdorf and Waldon’s decision to remove Shapley from the Hunter Biden investigation, Batdorf detailed in his testimony, a transcript of his testimony shows.
“I mean, I knew there were always concerns. There were investigative differences, prosecutorial differences of what they were having. I mean, I didn’t know it was this bad until October when it was, according to Gary, it was the red line, like this was the moment,” Batdorf testified.
“And then by that time it was November, and it was David Weiss’ moment of: I’m not talking to him anymore. He’s harassing me. He didn’t say it, but in his email he basically says: Tell him to leave me alone. I’m not talking to him anymore,” he added.
Batdorf did clarify that he did not believe Weiss had Shapley removed out of retaliation and he did not decide to take Shapley off the Hunter Biden case as an act of retaliation.
Waldon also recalled details of how Weiss and Shapley’s relationship disintegrated following an Oct. 7, 2022 meeting that later became a central component of Shapley’s testimony.
The Democratic lawmaker’s press release claims Shapley’s removal from the case happened well before he came forward. Batdorf said he found out from Shapley he was coming forward on Jan. 5, 2023, and Batdorf relayed the information to Waldon.
A month before, Waldon suggested to Shapley that there were paths he could take to address his concerns about ethical and prosecutorial misconduct, according to an email exhibit from page 172 of Shapley’s testimony. Later in December 2022, Shapley was removed from the case by Waldon and Batdorf following a conversation they had with Weiss, Batdorf testified.
Shapley and Ziegler have accused Department of Justice (DOJ) officials of giving Hunter Biden special treatment in the ongoing investigation. (RELATED: Hunter Biden Tax Case Received Special Attention From DOJ Investigators, Top Official Testifies)
Shapley accused Weiss of saying at the Oct. 7, 2022 meeting that he requested special counsel authority and got denied by the DOJ, instead being told to follow the normal process. Shapley wrote an email and took handwritten notes documenting his account of what happened at the meeting.
Weiss testified before the House Judiciary Committee in November and said he requested special attorney authority under section 515 of the U.S. Code to potentially prosecute Hunter Biden for alleged tax offenses in Washington, D.C, according to a transcript of his testimony reviewed by the Daily Caller.
Weiss confirmed the DOJ rejected his request for additional authority and told him to follow the normal process for charging outside of his district, in accordance with the details revealed by Shapley. Weiss denied requesting special counsel authority before his special counsel appointment in August.
Weiss followed the process and requested cooperation from Biden-appointed D.C. U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves, who refused to partner with Weiss on the case, both men confirmed when they testified, according to transcripts reviewed by the Daily Caller. Weiss and Graves both rejected accusations of political favoritism in the Hunter Biden case.
Graves’ conduct was first brought to light by Shapley’s testimony. As a result of Graves’ decision, the statute of limitations expired for alleged tax offenses related to Hunter Biden’s income from Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings during the 2014-15 tax years, Shapley and Ziegler testified. (RELATED: Witness Testimony Confirms Key Allegations Made By IRS Whistleblowers In Hunter Biden Tax Case)
Weiss confirmed the statute of limitations expired for the 2014-15 tax year, without going into specifics. Burisma paid Hunter Biden over $80,000 per month in both of those tax years, according to bank records released in August by the Oversight Committee.
Neal’s press release appears to question Shapley’s integrity by using a section of Waldon’s testimony. However, Batdorf repeatedly praised Shapley’s work ethic as an IRS agent and Waldon recalled Shapley receiving a performance award for his work at the agency.
“And Gary is a fantastic agent. He’s a bulldog. He will get to the bottom of it,” Batdorf said. (RELATED: Hunter Biden’s Legal Team Met With DOJ Tax Attorneys Unusually High Number Of Times, IRS Official Testifies)
Shapley began working at the IRS in July 2009 and throughout his career recovered more than $3.5 billion for the U.S. government, he testified.
🚨🚨 Unreal: @WaysMeansCmte Ranking Member @RepRichardNeal is literally making up facts in advance of Tuesday’s hearing with IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler next Tuesday: https://t.co/ueN99hE8oU. 🧵
— Tristan Leavitt (@tristanleavitt) December 1, 2023
“Please read the transcripts of self-serving agency witnesses, spot the lies, and don’t spread them–or craft those of your own simply to target two patriotic whistleblowers fulfilling their oath to the Constitution,” Tristan Leavitt, one of Shapley’s attorneys, said Friday on Twitter as part of a thread countering Rep. Neal’s statement.
In August, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss special counsel to continue the Hunter Biden case. Weiss’ special counsel designation took place after the IRS whistleblowers came forward and Hunter Biden’s original guilty plea agreement fell apart in court.
Shapley and Ziegler originally testified behind closed-doors to the Ways and Means Committee in late May and early June. Both whistleblowers testified publicly in July, where Ziegler’s identity was revealed for the first time. (RELATED: IRS Whistleblower Says Hunter Biden’s Attorneys Made ‘False Statements’ And ‘Threatened’ Prosecutors)
The Ways and Means Committee released a trove of documents in September containing evidence to back up the IRS whistleblower allegations.
Hunter Biden is suing the IRS for alleged illegal disclosures by the IRS whistleblowers. His defense attorney, Abbe D. Lowell, urged Weiss in August to investigate the whistleblowers. Ziegler has characterized the Hunter Biden lawsuit as an attempt to silence the IRS whistleblowers.
Ways and Means Committee Democrats did not respond to a request for comment.