Gary Shapley, the IRS agent who is expected to testify Wednesday about his claims that the Justice Department went easy on President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, says he is not affiliated with any political party or partisan organization. But Democrats contend the same can’t be said for some of the people who have taken up his cause.
Shapley is represented by Empower Oversight, which bills itself as a nonpartisan good government group, but is run by former Republican legislative staffers with long-standing GOP ties.
The group’s founder, Jason Foster, spent years attacking the Justice Department investigation into whether Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign coordinated with the Russian government. Its president, Tristan Leavitt, is a GOP candidate for West Virginia’s state House who boasts on his LinkedIn page about his investigations of Hillary Clinton.
Foster and Leavitt are veterans of Republican congressional oversight who have worked with a variety of good government organizations over long careers. But Democrats say they now are part of a little-scrutinized far-right ecosystem that has directed a barrage of criticism at federal law enforcement agencies as a Justice Department special counsel seeks to convict Trump on charges he mishandled classified documents and obstructed justice.