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Ways & Means Republicans: “Throw the Book” at IRS Leaker

January 24, 2024 — Blog    — Oversight    — Press Releases   

WASHINGTON, D.C. – All Republican Members of the Ways and Means Committee sent a letter on Tuesday to the U.S. District Court for District of Columbia, respectfully asking the court to sentence the IRS leaker, Charles Edward Littlejohn, to the maximum sentence for the crimes he committed when he stole and subsequently leaked private and confidential American taxpayer information, including the private data of President Donald Trump, to the New York Times and ProPublica.

“Mr. Littlejohn took the law into his own hands and decided he knew what was best. As you are aware, Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code contains a process by which Congress can obtain otherwise confidential tax information and release it under certain circumstances. Mr. Littlejohn’s actions showed disdain for the rule of law and American confidence in our voluntary tax system,” wrote Ways and Means Republicans.

In their letter, Committee members stressed the importance of deterring future IRS employees or contractors from taking similar action and leaking confidential taxpayer information to further a political agenda:

“While we wish that prosecutors had pleaded him to additional counts, you still can impose a more serious sentence than the anticipated 8-to-14-month guideline range. In our view, the seriousness of the crimes and the context surrounding them justify an upward variance. So that similar conduct is deterred in the future, we respectfully ask that you sentence Mr. Littlejohn to the maximum sentence of five years.”

Read the full letter here.

Background:

September 2023: DOJ charges Charles Edward Littlejohn with one count of unauthorized disclosure of private tax information, despite him making two separate disclosures of thousands of Americans private tax information to news organizations and admitting to obstruction of justice in his plea agreement.

March 2023: Chairman Smith calls on Secretary Yellen to explain what she was doing to get to the bottom of the crime and provide Americans with an update. Secretary Yellen responds that she referred the matter to investigators.

February 2023: Chairman Smith writes a letter to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration demanding an explanation for why Americans were still in the dark 19 months after the latest leak of taxpayer information.

June 2021: In response to the leak of confidential taxpayer information published by ProPublica that appeared to come from inside the IRS, Republican tax writers call for transparency and an investigation. Then Republican leader of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-16), demands answers on the breach as well.

September 2020: After President Trump’s confidential tax information was leaked to the New York Times, the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee raises concerns about the breach.

Flashback: ProPublica previously received (and published) leaked taxpayer information from the IRS in 2012 that just so happened to include critics of the Democrat administration.

READ: Smith: DOJ’s Weak Prosecution of ProPublica Leaker Makes Robust Guardrails to Protect Taxpayer Information Even More Vital

READ: Ways and Means Republicans Demand DOJ Answer for Inadequate Charging Decisions for ProPublica Leaker

READ: Smith Demands Timely and Public Answers from IRS Watchdog on Investigation into Leak of Taxpayer Private Data