Hunter Biden has filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service, arguing that two agents violated his right to privacy when they publicly aired his tax information as they pressed claims that a federal investigation of him had been improperly handled.
The lawsuit filed Monday says that his personal tax details shared during congressional hearings and interviews was not allowed by federal whistleblower protections.
The suit escalates the legal fight as a long-running investigation continues to unfold against a sharply political backdrop, including an impeachment inquiry aimed at his father, President Joe Biden.
IRS supervisory special agent Greg Shapley, and a second agent, Joe Ziegler, have claimed there was a pattern of “slow-walking investigative steps” into Hunter Biden in testimony before Congress. The Justice Department has denied any political interference in the case.
The IRS and lawyers for the two men did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
It comes as Biden was indicted Thursday on federal firearms charges, the latest step in a long-running investigation into the president’s son that puts the case on track toward a possible high-stakes trial as the 2024 election looms.
Biden is accused of lying about his drug use when he bought a firearm in October 2018, a period when he has acknowledged struggling with addiction to crack cocaine, according to the indictment filed in federal court in Delaware by a special counsel overseeing the case.
The indictment comes weeks after the collapse of a plea deal that would have averted a criminal trial and distracting headlines for President Joe Biden.
The court fight doesn’t seem likely to end soon. Hunter Biden’s defense attorney argues he didn’t violate the law and remains protected by an immunity provision that was part of the plea deal.
The charges, meanwhile, are rarely filed as stand-alone counts and a federal appeals court recently found the measure he was charged under unconstitutional.
He’s also been under investigation for his business dealings, and the special counsel has indicated that tax charges could be filed at some point in Washington or in California, where he lives.
The legal arguing comes as a political fight also plays out.
The House has formally opened an impeachment inquiry into the Democratic president, seeking to tie the elder Biden to his son’s businesses and divert attention away from former President Donald Trump’s own legal woes. Trump’s include federal indictments over the handling of classified documents and efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.