A sign outside the Internal Revenue Service building is seen on May 4, 2021, in Washington. A former contractor for the Internal Revenue Service has been charged with leaking tax information to news outlets about a government official and thousands of the country’s wealthiest people. The Justice Department said in a statement Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, that 38-year-old Charles Edward Littlejohn of Washington, D.C., is accused of stealing tax return information and giving it to two different news outlets between 2018 and 2020.
Charles Littlejohn was sentenced to five years in prison on Monday for leaking former President Donald Trump’s tax records to the press.
Littlejohn, a 38-year-old former contractor for the Internal Revenue Service, pleaded guilty in October to one count of unauthorized disclosures of income tax returns. He leaked Trump’s tax records, as well as the tax records of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, to two news outlets between 2018 and 2020. He deleted the documents from his work laptop before returning it to the IRS.
U.S. District Judge Ana Reyes said the leak was “an attack on our constitutional democracy,” according to CNN, and she compared it to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
In October, Reyes said that she was deeply troubled by Littlejohn’s actions.
“When we have people, for whatever reason, take the law into their own hands, society doesn’t function,” she said. “Make no mistake, this was not acceptable. If anyone tells you the ends justify the means, they’re wrong.”
The two news outlets were never named, but in 2020, The New York Times published Trump’s tax returns, and in 2019, ProPublica reported on the returns.
“By using his role as a government contractor to gain access to private tax information, steal that information, and disclose it publicly, Charles Littlejohn broke federal law and betrayed the public’s trust,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in a news release. “In every case, the Department of Justice is committed to following the facts wherever they lead and holding accountable those who violate our laws.”