Charles Littlejohn, a former IRS contractor, leaked the tax returns of the rich to show the public how the uber-wealthy game our tax code. Now he’s facing potential prison time. They’ve nabbed the wrong criminal.

by Guthrie Scrimgeour, Jacobin

In June 2021, the investigative reporting outlet ProPublica began publishing “The Secret IRS Files,” a series of articles analyzing a leaked cache of the wealthiest Americans’ tax documents.

The series was shocking. Over the course of more than a year, it laid out in detail the methods by which the uber-rich — with their armies of accountants, lawyers, and friendly politicians — rig the tax code to their benefit. In many cases, the documents revealed, billionaires pay a lower effective tax rate than their working-class employees, or pay no taxes at all.

Jeff Bezos wearing a suit at an event

In a functioning democracy, these revelations would spark meaningful changes in the tax code, and the person responsible for the leaks would be lauded as a hero for alerting the public to massive government dysfunction. Instead, President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice, badgered by congressional Republicans, elected to prosecute the whistleblower.

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