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Charges Levied Against Former IRS Contractor for Leaking Tax Information

Donald Trump (Via Donald Trump/Twitter)

A former contractor for the Internal Revenue Service, Charles Edward Littlejohn, has been charged with leaking tax information to news outlets regarding thousands of the country’s wealthiest individuals. The Justice Department alleges that Littlejohn, 38, of Washington DC, stole tax return information and provided it to two news outlets between 2018 and 2020. The outlets published numerous articles about the tax information, some of which dated back more than 15 years, charging documents state.

According to the charging documents, one of the news outlets is believed to be The New York Times, which in 2020 published a story about former President Donald Trump’s tax returns. The story revealed that Trump paid only 750 dollars in federal income tax in the year he entered the White House, and did not pay income tax at all in some years due to significant losses. Six years of Trump’s tax returns were later released by the House Ways and Means Committee, which was controlled by Democrats at the time.

The second news outlet is thought to be ProPublica, a non-profit investigative journalism organization, which in 2021 published a report on a trove of tax-return data about the wealthiest Americans. The report found that the 25 richest people in the country paid a smaller share of their income in taxes than many ordinary workers do. ProPublica has declined to comment on the charges, stating that its reporters do not know the identity of the source who provided the information.

Donald Trump (Via Donald Trump/Twitter)

Littlejohn has been charged with one count of unauthorized disclosure of tax returns and return information, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison if convicted. The IRS has declined to comment specifically on the case, but Commissioner Danny Werfel has stated that any disclosure of taxpayer information is unacceptable and that the agency has taken steps to tighten security.

The leak of tax information has raised concerns about the security of taxpayer data and the potential for unauthorized disclosure. The Justice Department has launched an investigation into the leak, and the news outlets have faced criticism for publishing sensitive information without verifying its accuracy. The case highlights the importance of protecting taxpayer information and the legal protections that exist to ensure confidentiality.

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