“No one f**ks with a Biden.” That statement by President Joe Biden last year to a Florida mayor seems more than just a boast this week after a whistleblower at the Internal Revenue Service surfaced. The Wall Street Journal reported that a career IRS Criminal Supervisory Agent has alleged preferential treatment given to Hunter Biden in tax investigations. The whistleblower also alleges that he or she has information that contradicts the testimony of “a senior Biden political appointee.”
The timing of the letter itself was notable. For years, the Democratically controlled committees blocked any investigation into allegations of corruption and influence peddling by the Biden family. Before the takeover by the Republicans in the House, this whistleblower would have had little reason to seek protection from a Committee with demonstrably little interest in such allegations.
In fairness to the Democrats, both parties have used their power to shield presidents or political allies. However, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability has now uncovered an array of new facts that are shedding light on what could be one of the largest influence peddling efforts in history. For a city where influence peddling is a virtual cottage industry, that is saying a lot. Even in this premier league of corruption, the Biden family is the G.O.A.T.
Just this week, Chairman Comer revealed that new financial documents show six additional Biden family members may have benefited from foreign payments. That brings the total to nine Biden family members who appear on suspicious transactions or bank records. The identity of these family members and the underlying payments remain unclear, but the past disclosures of alleged influence peddling by Hunter Biden and his uncle James warrant full investigation.
The Bidens have long counted on an enabling media to tamp down coverage of corruption allegations. The most remarkable effort was successfully burying the Hunter Biden laptop story before the election. The Bidens were able to get the media to buy into the effort. For many reporters, even the acknowledgment of this corruption would be a self-indictment of their own lack of curiosity and integrity.
Yet, there has also been a notable lack of perceptible movement in any of the investigations of the Bidens. Take the investigation of David Weiss, the U.S. attorney for the District of Delaware. Weiss is looking into an array of possible crimes, including tax violations, unlawful work as a foreign agent, unlawful foreign transactions and other offenses. Many of these crimes are relatively easy to investigate but the investigation has moved at a glacial pace.
There is ample evidence of Hunter working for foreign entities without registering as a foreign agent — a crime that the Justice Department used liberally against other defendants like Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort. There are also clearly false statements used by Hunter in relation to his possession of a handgun that appear undeniable.
However, years have passed without any indictment from Weiss or any state counterpart. At the same time, Attorney General Merrick Garland has steadfastly ignored the obvious basis for the appointment of a special counsel despite repeated references to the President as an intended recipient of influence peddling proceeds.
That history has fueled concerns over whether federal investigations are being manipulated or misdirected.
The allegation of political influence at the IRS could add an additional potential criminal element to the mix. Section 7212 of the Internal Revenue Code makes it a felony for anyone “corruptly” to attempt to “obstruct or impede the due administration of” the Internal Revenue Code.
Notably, Hunter recently called for the IRS to investigate his critics and potentially strip groups of their tax exempt status.
The use of the IRS to target political enemies or protect political allies has long been a concern for Congress. Protections against political influence were ramped up after the Nixon Administration. In one of the recorded conversations from the Oval Office, Nixon explained his expectations for the next commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service:
“I want to be sure he is a ruthless son of a bitch, that he will do what he’s told, that every income tax return I want to see I see, that he will go after our enemies and not go after our friends. Now it’s as simple as that. If he isn’t, he doesn’t get the job.”
Nixon’s infamous enemies list with hundreds of names were sent to the IRS for action. Even with the Nixon reforms, allegations of political manipulation of the IRS have continued. During the Obama Administration, former IRS official Lois Lerner and others were accused of targeting conservative groups. Lerner later refused to testify in Congress and was found in contempt.
More recently, there were similar concerns raised by a house visit of the IRS to the home of journalist Matt Taibbi — on the same day that he testified on the censorship efforts of the Biden Administration.
The sensitivity over the possible use of the IRS for political purposes runs deep with the public. The IRS is the one federal agency that requires every citizen to annually disclose information on the income, expenses, and family arrangements. Perhaps for that reason, the IRS has long been the least popular agency,according to polls.
The expanding investigation of the House Oversight Committee could also make things more difficult for the Administration.
I previously wrote how the Weiss investigation could be used to defuse the Hunter Biden scandal by producing some relatively limited charges and a favorable plea bargain. President Biden and the media could then go into the 2024 election by saying that the matter is closed. More importantly, with the closure of the investigation, most of the information reviewed by Weiss would ordinarily remain undisclosed.
The problem is that, while the delay worked to the advantage of the Bidens before the 2020 election, it may now work against them. With the House turnover, committees are uncovering far more information. Recently, Republicans pressured Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to lift long-standing bars on disclosing suspicious activity reports (SARs) related to Hunter Biden.
A plea will no longer have the advantage of keeping evidence from the public. With the public disclosure of information, the basis for possible criminal charges will also be made public. It then becomes more difficult to scuttle or minimize criminal charges against Hunter Biden.
The most recent spin of Democrats is that influence peddling is legal. That is technically true but the means used for influence peddling can often prove criminal, including false statements to investigators. However, regardless of whether this is a crime, it is most certainly a form of corruption. We should want to know if the Biden family received millions from foreign sources to influence national policies or priorities.
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