Show and Tell is over

I'm surprised a little more attention hasn't been paid to this: The dude who leaked Donald Trump's tax returns to the New York Times has been sentenced to five years in the federal slammer. He was working for a contractor for the IRS, a gig that he apparently took with the specific intent to steal and leak the information.

The former contractor, Charles Littlejohn, known as Chaz, worked for the tax agency from 2017 to 2021, when he stole the tax records of thousands of the country’s wealthiest people, including Mr. Trump, prosecutors said. Mr. Littlejohn then provided the information to The New York Times and ProPublica.

Prosecutors said his actions “appear to be unparalleled in the I.R.S.’s history.”

Mr. Littlejohn, 38, pleaded guilty late last year to one count of the unauthorized disclosure of tax return information. In addition to five years in prison, which is one of the largest sentences in a federal leak investigation, Mr. Littlejohn was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, 300 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine.

Some of the Trumpies are whining that the sentence was too light, even though it was the statutory maximum for a single count. I must say, I agree with them, particularly the $5,000 fine. That's nothing. But if the shoe were on the other foot – say, Trump were in the White House and these were Hunter Biden's tax returns – Trump would pardon the guy and brag about it. And so my outrage meter isn't registering too high. Plus, five years in Club Fed is a stinger. That's no way to spend your midlife crisis.

Speaking of bad tax agency contractors, did you see where the Oregon Department of Revenue sent out thousands of taxpayer notices to the wrong people – again? They keep using outside contractors for their mailings, even though the contractors keep screwing up. Last time, the bungle, by an outfit identified as R.R. Donnelley, affected about 5,000 people. This year the contractor, identified as Garten Services, screwed up six times worse.

The Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) is blaming a “mailing error” as the reason why nearly 33,000 1099-G tax forms may have ended up going to the wrong households. Those documents, for people who received unemployment insurance benefits in 2023, contain limited personal information.

DOR said the error impacted 32,960 out of 122,245 mailings. It said some people may have failed to receive a 1099-G while others may have received an additional form not belonging to them.

The information on the documents includes name and address, the last four digits of the recipient’s social security number, amount of compensation and income tax withholdings....

Anyone who received an extra 1099-G document is asked to shred it or otherwise destroy it....

Why is the department using outside contractors for basic mail functions? Given the sensitivity of the information involved, shouldn't all department mail be processed by bureau employees who are trained, checked, and cleared for such duty? Lord knows, we're paying enough PERS pensions for state employees that there ought to be enough money to put a few of them in a room with a postage meter, a stack of tax forms, a box of envelopes, and a state trooper down at the front door keeping an eye on things.

But in Salem, what do you expect? The person currently running the revenue department is a career bureaucrat with no apparent prior expertise in running a tax system. For years she was a flack in the highway department and later ran the office for one of the bigger bobbleheads in the legislature. Next thing you know, she'll be running the DMV.

And guess what. That contractor who screwed things up? It's a proud player in the Salem chapter of the nonprofit industrial complex. You can't make this stuff up.


  1. It's good to see the productivity improvement in the bungling.

  2. Apparently getting tax stuff right is taxing. Last month, after resolving a prior year's underreporting for what I thought was a sum certain for which I sent a check, I got a notice from the IRS that THEY now owed be a whopping $1.98. From the state side, last year DOR tried to dunn me for additional tax because they'd simply missed one of my quarterly payments. That was finally resolved after I sent them copies of cancelled checks, but now they advise me I've somehow earned about $12 in reportable interest due to their goof. Just like fun only different, two cases where rounding would have been way more efficient for all involved.

  3. I've been on/off unemployment for a few years. Luckily not last year. That system is so old, like from the 90s. How much money was stolen by fraud claims? And whatever happened to the massive data breach at the DMV? I guess transparency doesn't apply to when you really screw things up.

  4. i agree it’s criminal to steal tax documents one has access to as part of their job. i also recall that all presidents in modern history have voluntarily released their own tax returns, except trump.

    1. Not all Presidential candidates have released their tax records, and I have no idea why Democrats keep thinking this is some crisis or gotcha.

      Do you remember all of the political pressure for Mitt Romney to release his tax records? Democrats insisted that it would be his final undoing, that once the public got word of his tax records all hell would break lose and the embarrassment would be so vast and deep that Romney would have to drop out. And Romney played it up, refusing to release it, refusing to talk about it, stone walling the system as if to give these allegations credence.

      And it turns out, tax records don't say anything at all. There hasn't been a candidate whose tax records stay in the public news cycle for more than 12 hours, not even Romney's. In fact, Trump's tax records are likely the single most notorious case, and look how little it mattered when they broke.

      Meanwhile, is anyone of such room-temperature intelligence to think that *this* is how we're going to catch someone cheating their taxes or embezzling money? It's the family members that do it: Ron Wyden's son, Nancy Pelosi's son and husband, Trump's sons, Biden's son and brother. That's how all of this sham works.

  5. Did LBJ ever release his tax returns. I was always interested in how he amassed his fortune.


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