A director within the IRS’ criminal investigations division told House lawmakers that he was frustrated that the Justice Department did not charge Hunter Biden for failing to pay federal income tax for 2014 and 2015, while defending IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley as a “bulldog” and a “fantastic” agent.
Michael Batdorf participated in a transcribed interview with the House Ways & Means Committee on Sept. 12 as part of the panel’s investigation into the Hunter Biden probe.
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As part of the interview, Batdorf was asked about Shapley’s claims that “the most substantive felony charges were left off the table” in their years-long federal probe into Hunter Biden.
Shapley, who led the IRS’ portion of the probe, said that Hunter Biden should have been charged with tax evasion for 2014, and for filing false tax returns for 2018 and 2019. With regard to the 2014 tax returns, Shapley said Hunter Biden did not report income from Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings.
Batdorf was asked whether the tax years for 2014 and 2015 were included in a special agent report form from the IRS’ Criminal Investigations division dated February 2022.
A courtroom sketch depicting Hunter Biden in a federal courtroom in Wilmington, Delaware on July 26, 2023. (COURTESY: William J. Hennessy, Jr.)
“That is correct,” he said, confirming that it included a recommendation of “at least one felony count.”
Batdorf said it is “correct” that he agreed with the IRS recommendation for charges, but was “surprised” when he learned that prosecutors would not charge for those tax years.
“Based on my supporting of the case all the way through, yes, I was surprised,” Batdorf said.
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When asked if he was frustrated, he replied: “Yeah. Of course there was some level of frustration, yes.”
Fox News Digital first reported in December 2020 that Hunter Biden did not report “approximately $400,000” in income he collected from his position on the board of Burisma Holdings when he joined in 2014.
Batdorf also testified that agents met with defense counsel for Hunter Biden multiple times.
When asked if that was typical during a tax investigation, Batdorf testified: “No.”
Meanwhile, Batdorf was asked about Shapley’s claims that David Weiss, who now serves as special counsel, but was serving as U.S. attorney for Delaware and led the Hunter Biden investigation since 2018, told investigators that he was “not the deciding” person on charges.
Batdorf, speaking to a broader understanding of DOJ tax approval cases, said that his “understanding would be that DOJ Tax has to authorize it first.”
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“My understanding is that, I mean, he can’t make that decision without DOJ Tax authorization,” Batdorf said.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has repeatedly said that Weiss had all authority to make prosecutorial decisions in the case against the president’s son— as recently as Wednesday, when he testified under oath for hours before the House Judiciary Committee.
Supervisory IRS Special Agent Gary Shapley (L) and IRS Criminal Investigator Joseph Ziegler are sworn-in as they testify during a House Oversight Committee hearing related to the Justice Department’s investigation of Hunter Biden. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
But Batdorf stressed that Weiss could not move forward with bringing charges without DOJ tax approval.
“So Mr. Weiss couldn’t bring charges without first getting DOJ Tax approval?” Batdorf was asked.
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He replied: “No. Not to the best of my knowledge, no.”
Meanwhile, Batdorf defended Shapley—who has faced criticism for coming forward with allegations that politics influenced prosecutorial decisions made throughout the Hunter Biden investigation. Batdorf also said he supported him coming forward as a whistleblower.
“Gary is a fantastic agent,” he said. “He’s a bulldog. He will get to the bottom of it.”
Brooke Singman is a Fox News Digital politics reporter. You can reach her at [email protected] or @BrookeSingman on Twitter.