IRS tax consultant charged with leaking tax information of Trump, other wealthy people to the media

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - According to a report from the Associated Press (AP) the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the charging of 38-year-old Charles Edward Littlejohn, a former tax consultant for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Littlejohn allegedly leaked tax information of some of the country's wealthiest people to multiple news outlets. The DOJ press release states that Littlejohn has been charged with one count of unauthorized disclosure of tax returns and return information. 

The time frame of the incident is said to have been between 2018 and 2020. Both news outlets that Littlejohn allegedly gave the stolen information to published several articles about the tax information, some dating back more than 15 years. 

In the DOJ press release, neither of the two news outlets are listed by name nor is the name of the public official listed. However, the description time frame aligns with stories about former President Donald Trump's tax returns in The New York Times as well as articles about wealthy Americans' taxes being published in the nonprofit investigative journalism organization ProPublica.

Additionally, a source reportedly confirmed to CNN that Trump was the unnamed public official in the charging docuemnts. 

Back in 2020, The New York Times published a report detailing that Trump paid ony $750 in federal income tax the year he entered the White house and no income tax at all some years thanks to major losses. 

After that, accorind to reports, six years of his income tax returns were released by the then-Democratically controlled House Way and Means Committee. Back in 2021, ProPublica published an article on a number of income tax return data about the wealthiest people in America.

That report found that 25 of the richest people legally pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than many ordinary workers do. A spokesperson for ProPublica declined to comment on the DOJ's announcement, but said in a statement:

"As we've said previously, ProPublica doesn't know the identity of the source who provided this trove of information on the taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans." 

On Friday, September 29th, IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a statement:

"Any disclosure of taxpayer information is unacceptable. The IRS has put in place new protocols and protections that tightened security, and our aggressive work in this critical area continues in order to protect the tax and financial information of taxpayers."

Sen. Mike Crapo, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, said:

"While many questions remain, at the very least, IRS guardrails failed to prevent this brazen breach of taxpayer rights. It goes without saying that resolving these and other ongoing security issues at the IRS, as well as identifying and making whole the individuals impacted by this breach, must be the IRS's highest priority."

Ken Griffin, a prominent hedge fund manager, was one of the individuals who's tax records were leaked. He sued the IRS for failing to protect his tax filings. At the time, in court, the administration argued that there was no evidence that a leak came from a government employee. Griffin said:

"The government has a fundamental obligation to protect the confidentiality of Americans' sensitive information, whether it be tax records or healthcare records."

If convicted of his charge, Littlejohn could spend up five years in prison.
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