A couple of years ago, Pro Publica received from an IRS source the tax return information of thousands of wealthy Americans. At the time, Pro Publica wrote that they wouldn't be disclosing who gave them the information:
ProPublica is not disclosing how it obtained the data, which was given to us in raw form, with no conditions or conclusions. ProPublica reporters spent months processing and analyzing the material to transform it into a usable database.
We then verified the information by comparing elements of it with dozens of already public tax details (in court documents, politicians’ financial disclosures and news stories) as well as by vetting it with individuals whose tax information is contained in the trove.
The New York Times was also an apparent recipient of the leaked returns.
Eventually the leaker's identity was discovered, and now the IRS-connected person in question who leaked the tax returns has been charged.
Does this qualify as a "slap on the wrist"?
A corrupt IRS official stole the tax returns of a "high-ranking government official" (presumably Donald Trump) and stole the returns of "thousands of the nation's wealthiest individuals" and leaked it all to two media organizations (presumably NYT and ProPublica).— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) September 29, 2023
DOJ is… pic.twitter.com/KgyMJJf4XH
The Biden Justice Department couldn't be more predictable.
Federal prosecutors announced charges Friday against a contractor with the Internal Revenue Service who allegedly stole the tax returns of a high-ranking government official. A source familiar with the matter told CNN that official is former President Donald Trump.
The man, 38-year-old Charles Edward Littlejohn, worked with the IRS from 2018 to 2020, according to court documents. During his contract, Littlejohn allegedly stole “tax returns and return information associated with Public Official A” and disclosed that information to a news organization.
Though the official is not named in court documents, a source familiar with the investigation told CNN the tax returns in question were Trump’s.In addition to the former president’s tax documents, Littlejohn is also accused of stealing IRS information on “thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, including returns and return information dating back more than 15 years.”
"Littlejohn is charged with one count of unauthorized disclosure of tax returns and return information and faces up to five years in prison if convicted," according to CNN.
“Thousands of other individuals”— Andrew Nutting (@NuttingAndrew) September 29, 2023
1 count of criminality.
He stole and disclosed the “right” returns, to the right people. Had it been the wrong ones, he would have 1 count for each disclosure.
Is there any doubt that if the returns were linked to more prominent wealthy Democrats this person would have faced much more severe sentencing?
He’s the Lois Lerner of today. He will get off just like she did. A refresher https://t.co/kRTxUkrurr— emily miller (@emilymiller) September 29, 2023
Yes, we've seen how this game is played before.
I always find it amazing that the political and media disdain over what the rich pay in taxes is directed at the billionaires in question. Apparently, everything on their tax returns was done legally, so it's a bit nauseating to hear "the rich don't pay their fair share" criticism coming from politicians working in the legislative body that writes the tax laws. It's like a big game to them.
It'll be surprising if the charged leaker ends up doing very much, if any, actual jail time -- unless the person was anywhere near the U.S. Capitol on January 6th of course.