Charles Littlejohn, a consultant for the Internal Revenue Service, has been charged with leaking to the news media private tax information about former President Trump and thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people. Littlejohn, 38, of Washington, D.C., stole the files while working as a government contractor and gave them to two news organizations, the Justice Department said. The agency doesn’t identify the outlets, though it appears to be referring to ProPublica and the New York Times. In a court document, the government says the leaks included information about “Public Official A,” which a source confirmed is Trump, Politico reports. The charges were filed as a “criminal information” rather than an indictment, which typically means the defendant has entered a plea deal.
The announcement comes more than two years after ProPublica said it had obtained a massive trove of information about the taxes and incomes of wealthy people, many of them well known, going back some 15 years. It published a series of stories showing many of them paid little or nothing in taxes. The leak astonished IRS veterans, not just because of its sheer scale, but because tax filings are subject to elaborate safeguards and unauthorized disclosures are rare. Biden administration officials said virtually nothing publicly about the leak or how it had happened. Republicans accused Democrats of disclosing the information in hopes of fueling their push in Congress to raise taxes on the rich. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said, “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.” Littlejohn was given access to the records “for purposes of tax administration” while working as a contractor to a consulting firm, the government says in a court document.