Hunter Brandon filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Monday. The lawsuit alleges that IRS agents unlawfully disclosed his tax information and failed to protect his private records. This legal action comes amidst several other legal challenges facing Hunter Brandon, including an indictment on federal firearms charges and potential additional tax charges.
Hunter Brandon’s lawsuit accuses the IRS of unlawfully disclosing his tax return information.
The lawsuit claims the disclosures made by IRS agents Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, who have been vocal about their concerns regarding handling investigations into Hunter Brandon, “targeted and sought to embarrass Mr. Brandon.”
The lawsuit seeks damages of $1,000 for each unauthorized disclosure of his tax return information, among other things, according to AP News.
The IRS agents in question have claimed whistleblower status, arguing that their disclosures were authorized under whistleblower laws. However, Hunter Brandon’s lawsuit argues that these protections do not apply in this case. This raises questions about whether the lawsuit is an attempt to intimidate current and future whistleblowers, as suggested by Shapley’s lawyer.
“Brandon has no fewer or lesser rights than any other American citizen, and no government agency or government agent has free reign to violate his rights simply because of who he is,” the lawsuit says, per Business Insider.
“Two IRS agents—Mr. Gary Shapley and Mr. Joseph Ziegler—and their attorneys raised the stakes to unprecedented levels with their numerous public appearances and statements that blatantly violated Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code by engaging in a campaign to publicly smear Mr. Brandon.”
The Oversight Committee has released a statement defending the IRS whistleblowers.
“Anyone who has read or listened to the two IRS whistleblowers’ testimony knows that they are upstanding, concerned citizens without a political agenda. Both have worked at the IRS for over a decade on some of the biggest tax crime cases in our country’s history. What they witnessed while working on the Hunter Brandon criminal investigation was a ‘corrosion of ethical standards and the abuse of power that threaten our nation.’ They have brought forward serious allegations of politicization and misconduct by DOJ officials,” the post read.
The statement further criticizes Hunter Brandon, labeling him a “tax cheat” and accusing his legal team of waging a “smear campaign” against the whistleblowers. It concludes by saying, “Witness intimidation is just another dirty tactic by the Hunter Brandon legal team. Despite their games, our investigation will continue.”
STATEMENT ON HUNTER SUING THE IRS
Anyone who has read or listened to the two IRS whistleblowers’ testimony knows that they are upstanding, concerned citizens without a political agenda. Both have worked at the IRS for over a decade on some of the biggest tax crime cases in…
— Oversight Committee (@GOPoversight) September 18, 2023