The two IRS agents who became whistleblowers after their experiences with higher-ups over the Hunter Biden tax/finance case appeared publicly Wednesday to testify before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee. The supervisory agent who was in charge of the investigation, Gary Shapley, was joined by his next-in-line, a 13-year veteran of the IRS criminal investigative division who until now has opted to remain anonymous. That person, known previously only as Agent X, is Special Agent Joseph Ziegler, who was on the Hunter case for five years, and we now know why he would have preferred anonymity.
Joe Ziegler is a Democrat. A lifelong Democrat. A lifelong, gay Democrat. And he addressed this directly in his must-watch opening statement, just to dispel any allegations that he had partisan political reasons for coming forward. The more personal parts of this statement are quite moving...
After he briefly described his credentials and background, he said this: “I had recently heard an elected official say that I must be more credible, because I am a gay Democrat married to a man. I’m no more credible than this man sitting next to me due to my sexual orientation or my political beliefs...My credibility today comes from my job experience with the IRS and my intimate knowledge of the agency’s standard[s] and procedures.”
It’s debatable whether his fellow Democrats, obsessed as they are with identify politics, will even comprehend what he was saying. But we do, and it’s refreshing beyond words.
“I have heard from some,” he said, “that I am a traitor to the Democratic Party and that I am causing more division in our society. I implore you, that if you were put in my position with the facts as I have stated them, that you would be doing the exact same thing --- regardless of your party affiliation.”
He even said he “kind of equated” the feelings he had about doing this with the experience he had coming out as gay. “It was honestly one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through,” he said.
Matt Margolis at PJ MEDIA wrote about his testimony and what we learned about him.
I wonder how many Democrats would put party aside and come forward as Ziegler did. Certainly the Democrats on the Oversight Committee made it crystal clear with their comments yesterday that they would put party first no matter what.
“I believe that the Delaware [U.S. Attorney’s Office] and DOJ-Tax have a clear target on me and my supervisors’ back, and I believe they’re just waiting for an opportunity to pounce on us,” Ziegler told the committee. “My own agency retaliated against me and threatened me with criminal conduct in response to an internal communication I sent to IRS leadership, even after years of essentially being left on an island when it came to this investigation. It is not my desire to become a martyr for this case, and I fear effectively ending my career. I did not ask to be in this position, nor did I want to be.”
Ziegler said that throughout his time on the investigation, he had witnessed “a corrosion of ethical standards and the abuse of power that threaten our nation.”
He said that even given the expenses he’s incurred from being a whistleblower, particularly travel, he has “not accepted a single payment from anyone” for doing this.
AMERICAN GREATNESS outlines the specifics of what he said concerning violations of norms. Regular readers of this newsletter will find most of this whistleblower’s story very familiar, but those who usually turn to mainstream media will have heard precious little of it, if any at all. Indeed, most liberal media outlets even did their best to ignore this hearing.
But before going in to testify, Ziegler sat for an interview with CBS NEWS’ Catherine Herridge, and clips of it were released in a series of tweets after his testimony was concluded.
Gary Shapley (whom many Democrats might find less credible than Ziegler because he is presumably not gay) offered his own opening statement. Shapley led the investigation until he and his entire 12-person team were removed from the case. “I have been attacked as incompetent and falsely accused of being a liar, a leaker, or both,” he said, “all by people who know nothing about me or the facts of this case.” He went on to talk about the “red line” his superiors crossed that made him take action.
“There should not be a two-track justice system depending on who you are and who you’re connected to,” Shapley testified. “In this case, there was.” At every turn, he said, decisions were made that benefited the subject of the investigation, and he offered examples, most of which you’ll recognize.
“I’m not here to support partisan agendas on either side,” he said. “I’m here because our tax system relies on the American people having confidence that it is administered fairly and equally for everyone, regardless of your last name or political connections.”
He went to Congress as a last resort, saying that he had tried repeatedly to go up the chain of command with his concerns. “I tried to give the prosecutors the benefit of the doubt for a very long time,” he said.
He defended the assistance he’s received from “a small nonprofit that helps whistleblowers,” making an interesting point we hadn’t heard before: “...The Biden family attorneys appear to be representing President Biden, Hunter Biden, and the Department of Justice, and they are not working for free. It has been reported in public sources that there is a large fund paying for legal fees for Biden family attorneys. The source of those funds is unknown. They have virtually unlimited resources to pursue their agenda.”
Since our readers already know a lot about the “irregularities” these whistleblowers discussed, let’s go now to the stunning way the Democrats on the Oversight Committee humiliated and disgraced themselves in that hearing, with the way they handled their opportunities to question these witnesses. (Obviously, they have no capacity for embarrassment, so we’ll just have to be embarrassed for them.) As diligently as Shapley and Ziegler tried to keep partisanship out of the proceedings, the Democrats kept dragging it back in.
Rep. Dan Goldman of New York distinguished himself. Bonchie at REDSTATE has had his fill of Goldman, saying he “comes across as some entitled trust fund kid who thinks he’s far smarter than he actually is.” Goldman even went on MSNBC Wednesday to say that, yes, there is a two-tiered justice system, but in the sense that it’s tougher on...Hunter Biden. Not kidding. “I’m shocked that Hunter Biden was even charged with these crimes,” he somehow said with a straight face, in reference to the misdemeanor plea agreement for offenses that would land any of us non-Bidens in prison for years.
Here’s what ranking member Jamie Raskin of Maryland came up with right out of the box: “Let’s hear about that crusade they were on to smear President Biden by promoting the same baseless conspiracy theories that this committee serves up as moldy leftovers every day. Like every other try by our colleagues to concoct a scandal about President Biden, this one is a complete and total bust.” I thought concocted scandals were a Democrat thing. Only a truly desperate person would resort to such an obvious untruth about this case and these two agents. But it’s all he has.
Rep. Kweisi Mfume, also of Maryland (sorry, Maryland!), made a Freudian slip and said, “Those agencies [the DOJ, FBI and IRS] keep this democracy in check...They provide the checks and they provide the balances.” No, it's not the job of unelected bureaucrats to police democracy. And "checks and balances" refers to the three branches of government as defined in the Constitution. Ever heard of it, Rep. Mfume?
Finally, if you missed Pennsylvania Rep. Summer Lee’s completely incongruous race-obsessed rants, the DAILY CALLER has the video. Ziegler looks appropriately mystified.
Lee focused exclusively on (of all things) race, expressing outrage at a different kind of two-tier justice system, one that affects “black and brown folks.” We were hoping that some Republican would dare to challenge this, considering Democrats are fine with giving a white man --- Hunter Biden, the ultimate product of privilege from the fact that his white father has enjoyed government power for half a century --- a slap on the wrist for the kind of crimes black men have spent their lives in prison for.
Fortunately, Florida Rep. Anna Paulina Luna did bring it up.
RELATED: The Oversight Committee has released a helpful timeline of the Bidens’ various influence-peddling activities in Romania, China, Ukraine and Kazakhstan over a period of 14 years. And, yes, it’s based on actual evidence: records of meetings and payments. Lots of detail here, on transactions totaling $17 million. (For WHAT??) Thanks, Oversight Committee!