WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO- 08), joined by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (OH-4), sent letters to the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General (DOJ OIG) and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) demanding information related to their Committees’ investigations into alleged whistleblower retaliation.
On May 15, 2023, the legal counsel for an IRS whistleblower sent a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee and House Judiciary Committee alleging that their client had been retaliated against for coming forward with information pertaining to the mishandling of a case concerning a high-profile individual. Chairman Smith notified IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel of his investigation into the retaliation and was informed the case had been referred to TIGTA and the DOJ OIG.
In their letters today to TIGTA and the DOJ OIG, Chairmen Smith and Jordan note that the alleged retaliation appears to have occurred after IRS Commissioner Werfel publicly committed that no retaliation will take place against whistleblowers:
“The Committees take seriously any allegations of misconduct by government officials or offices. Given the importance of this issue, Chairman Smith specifically asked IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel at the Committee on Ways and Means’ April 27, 2023, hearing entitled, Accountability and Transparency at the Internal Revenue Service with IRS Commissioner Werfel, to commit that there will be no retaliation taken against that whistleblower. The Commissioner responded with the following:
Mr. Chairman, while I can’t comment on a specific case, I can say without any hesitation there will be no retaliation for anyone making an allegation or a call to a whistleblower hotline.
“On May 15, 2023—less than three weeks after the Commissioner made that commitment—the Committees received a letter from the IRS employee’s legal counsel notifying the Committees that on May 15, 2023, the IRS employee ‘was informed that he and his entire investigative team are being removed from the ongoing and sensitive investigation of the high-profile, controversial subject about which [their] client sought to make whistleblower disclosures to Congress.’ Moreover, the letter notes that the IRS employee was informed that the change was made at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).”
Read the letter to TIGTA here.
Read the letter to the DOJ OIG here.
- April 19, 2023 – Ways and Means Committee and House Judiciary Committee receives letter from counsel representing an IRS employee asking the Committee to investigate concerns the employee has regarding allegations of misconduct in the handling of a high-profile case.
- April 27, 2023 – During sworn testimony before the Ways and Means Committee, IRS Commissioner Werfel says no employee making an allegation or contacting a whistleblower hotline will face retaliation.
- May 15, 2023 – Counsel for the IRS whistleblower contacts the Committees to report that their client as well as other agency employees were removed from the ongoing, sensitive, high-profile investigation at the request of DOJ.
- May 16, 2023 – Chairman Smith requests an urgent briefing from Commissioner Werfel on the retaliation issues raised by the IRS whistleblower.
- May 22, 2023 – The Committees receive another letter from the IRS employee’s legal counsel notifying the Committees that the IRS proceeded to take further actions against the IRS employee and others in an apparent attempt to intimidate and prevent them from making similar disclosures.
- May 25, 2023 – Chairman Jordan requests documents and information from Attorney General Merrick Garland regarding DOJ’s actions.
- June 7, 2023 – David Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, responds to Chairman Jordan’s letter on Attorney General Garland’s behalf, declining to provide any information.