tax, Trump, IRS worker

Ex-IRS Contractor Receives Maximum Prison Sentence For Leaking Trump Tax Documents

According to court documents, Littlejohn applied to work at the IRS specifically in order to obtain Trump’s tax documents.

Charles Edward Littlejohn, a 38-year-old former contractor for the IRS, was sentenced to a five-year prison sentence on Jan. 29 over leaking the tax returns of President Donald Trump and other wealthy figures. As The Associated Press reports, Littlejohn leaked the data to The New York Times and ProPublica between 2018 and 2020.

Prosecutors alleged that the leaks were of an unprecedented nature in the history of the IRS, thus a message needed to be delivered despite Littlejohn’s lack of criminal history. U.S. District Judge Ana Reyes briefly discussed the reasoning for the sentencing. “When you target the sitting president of the United States, you target the office,” Reyes said. “It can not be open season on our elected officials.” Reyes also questioned the prosecution’s choice to only charge Littlejohn with one count of felony unauthorized disclosure of tax returns and return information before hitting Littlejohn with a $5,000 fine and three years of supervised release. 

According to court documents, Littlejohn applied to work at the IRS specifically to obtain Trump’s tax documents, and worked out a way to obtain that information without triggering alert systems in IRS security protocols.

Nicole Argentieri, acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s criminal division, told the AP that Littlejohn’s sentencing “sends a strong message that those who violate laws intended to protect sensitive tax information will face significant punishment.”

Neither Trump nor the two outlets were mentioned by name in the charging documents, but the time frame of the leaks as well as the descriptions match investigations launched by both ProPublica and The New York Times

Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott also had information leaked by Littlejohn. Scott told the AP that Littlejohn should receive even greater punishment for his crime to be charged with more crimes because his only intention for leaking the information was “just to harm people,” including Scott’s family.

Littlejohn, meanwhile, apologized for his actions during the sentencing hearing. “I acted out of a sincere, if misguided, belief I was serving the public interest,” Littlejohn told the court. “My actions undermined the fragile trust we place in government.”

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