Abbe Lowell is the high-powered Washington attorney masterminding the defense of Hunter Biden. His theory is that the best defense is a good offense. Lowell entered the scene with an intimidating volley of criminal referrals and cease-and-desist letters this past February. He has asked federal and state prosecutors to investigate John Paul Mac Isaac and others he accused of disseminating Biden’s personal data. He also threatened former Fox News host Tucker Carlson with a defamation claim for good measure. I wrote about the Lowell miasma this past July in “Abbe is gabby dissing whistleblowers.”
Now Lowell has commenced a lawsuit against the IRS. The Wall Street Journal has posted a PDF copy of Lowell’s complaint online here. The complaint is based on the disclosures of whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler. Abbe is shabby suing the IRS for what I believe to be the agents’ protected disclosures.
Whistleblower attorneys Mark Lytle and Tristan Leavitt appear in Lowell’s complaint as “Attorney A” and “Attorney B,” respectively. No person who has been following the saga of the Biden family business can mistake their identification with the information provided in the complaint. The alphabetic designations are like putting sunglasses on a camel.
Michael Schmidt’s New York Times story on the lawsuit mentions the statutory provisions appliable to whistleblower disclosures. Not mentioning the whistleblower provisions, the Journal’s story on the lawsuit includes this dry recitation:
IRS employees are generally forbidden under the tax code from disclosing information from tax returns, and there are both criminal penalties and potential civil liability for disclosures.
There is a crucial exception. The chairs of the congressional tax-writing committees can request any taxpayer information from the IRS and then the committees can vote to make that information public in a report. The House Ways and Means Committee voted earlier this year to publish transcripts of interviews with the IRS employees in the Hunter Biden case.
When it was under Democratic control, the Ways and Means Committee used the same section of the tax code to publish the tax returns of former President Donald Trump.
Leavitt has issued a statement on the lawsuit that is accessible here. I think Leavitt’s statement in response to Lowell’s initial volley may suffice in this case as well:
Biden family lawyers have resorted to intimidation before—reportedly threatening federal prosecutors with “career suicide” if they charged Hunter Biden—so this attempt to intimidate our client and the oversight authorities scrutinizing the politicization of that case is no surprise. IRS SSA Gary Shapley has scrupulously followed the rules and blew the whistle to Congress about the unequal application of tax laws pursuant to 26 U.S.C. §6103(f)(5) and 5 U.S.C. §2302(b)(8)(C), a process facilitated lawfully by the authority of both Chairs of the tax committee…
All the innuendo and bluster that Biden family lawyers can summon will not change the facts. Lawful whistleblowing is the opposite of illegal leaking, and these bogus accusations against SSA Shapley by lawyers for the Biden family echo threatening emails sent by IRS leadership after the case agent also blew the whistle to the IRS Commissioner about favoritism in this case—as well as the chilling report that Biden attorneys have also lobbied the Biden Justice Department directly to target our client with criminal inquiry in further retaliation for blowing the whistle.
Some knowledgeable observer should parse Lowell’s complaint beyond the he said/she said style of the news stories. It’s not entirely clear to me why Biden is suing the IRS rather than the whistleblowers themselves. Among other things, Lowell appears to be an unreliable narrator of the facts. If Hunter Biden nevertheless prevails in his lawsuit against the IRS, perhaps he can make good on the income taxes he has failed to pay over the years since 2014.