Justice Department Charges Ex-IRS Consultant With Leaking Tax Information to News Organizations
by Paul Kiel
ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.
The Justice Department announced criminal charges on Friday against a former IRS contractor for leaking confidential tax information to two unnamed news organizations.
The DOJ’s description of one of those leaks appears to refer to the trove of IRS data that ProPublica used to report its “Secret IRS Files” series. The vast dataset contained details on thousands of wealthy Americans, and ProPublica reported dozens of stories based on an analysis of it.
“As we have said from the beginning, we do not know the identity of the source, so we have nothing further to say about the charges filed today,” Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica’s editor in chief, said.
The DOJ’s description of the second leak, information regarding “a high-ranking government official,” appears to match The New York Times’ reporting on the taxes of Donald Trump. A spokesperson for the Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The former IRS contractor, Charles Littlejohn, 38, of Washington, D.C., was charged with a count of disclosing tax return information, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of five years. Littlejohn’s attorney declined to comment.
For an overview of the main findings from ProPublica’s “Secret IRS Files” series, see “Ten Ways Billionaires Avoid Taxes on an Epic Scale.”