Charles Littlejohn, an Internal Revenue Service contractor, pled guilty Thursday to leaking the private tax information of former President Trump and thousands of other wealthy people to the news media. Littlejohn 38, is due to be sentenced in January. ProPublica said it was given a massive trove of tax records and ran stories detailing the tax practices of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and other wealthy people. the New York Times reported on Trump’s tax returns, reports Politico. The government says Littlejohn stole the information on two separate occasions, though provides few specifics about how he was twice able to evade safeguards designed to protect taxpayer privacy. The Justice Department said Littlejohn used “broad search parameters designed to conceal the true purpose of his queries ... he then evaded IRS protocols established to detect and prevent large downloads or uploads from IRS devices or systems."
The government says he obstructed its investigation by deleting and destroying evidence. More than 150 people had their private tax information published by the news media as a result of the leak. Data on thousands of others were given to ProPublica but not published.. “The authorized theft and disclosure of tax return information by government employees or contractors is a serious breach of the public’s trust,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole Argentieri.