US President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden
, son of US President Joe Biden, has filed a federal lawsuit
against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS
) for allegedly violating his privacy. Two whistleblower agents - Joseph Ziegler
and Gary Shapley
– testified before Congress, revealing the First Son's tax
Shapley and Ziegler testified as federal whistleblowers. They said that they were blocked during the five-year investigation on Biden. However, Hunter's lawyer Abbe Lowell argued in the lawsuit the agents disclosed confidential tax information during '20 nationally televised interviews and public statements'.
Lowell added that this is an 'assault' on Biden's privacy.
“Rather, IRS agents have targeted and sought to embarrass Mr. Biden via public statements to the media in which they and their representatives disclosed confidential information about a private citizen’s tax matters,” Lowell wrote.
The lawsuit further states that Hunter is eligible for $1000 in statutory damages for each unauthorized disclosure and also unspecified punitive damages.
"IRS does not comment on pending litigation," spokesman Robert Marvin said in a statement.
Shapley and Ziegler were warned against disclosing the House Ways and Means Committee testimony publicly, transcripts showed. However, as per the lawsuit they spoke to media outlets – CNN, The Megyn Kelly Show, CBS News and Fox News.
Who is "Whistleblower X," Joseph Ziegler?
Ziegler is a 13-year IRS veteran. He was the agency's lead case agent in the Hunter Biden investigation.
"I'm a Democrat. In the last presidential election, I actually did not vote," Ziegler told CBS News in an interview. "I thought it would be irresponsible of me to do so because I didn't want to show bias one way or the other."
The whistleblower also worked as an external auditor for Ernst and Young. He graduated from Ohio University with an accounting degree. He did a master's in business administration from John Carroll University.
Who is Gary Shapley?
Shapley was Ziegler's supervisor.
"When I took control of this particular investigation, I immediately saw deviations from the normal process. It was way outside the norm of what I've experienced in the past. It just got to that point where that switch was turned on. And I just couldn't silence my conscience anymore,” he told CBS earlier this year.
He has worked for the IRS for 14 years. Shapley leads a team of agents who specialise in international tax and financial crimes. He also worked for the the National Security Agency's Office of the Inspector General.