The IRS apologizes to Ken Griffin and thousands of Americans for the tax data leak

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Tuesday issued a public apology to billionaire Ken Griffin and thousands of Americans, including former President Donald Trump and Elon Musk, whose personal information was leaked to the media.

“The IRS deeply apologizes to Mr. Kenneth Griffin and the thousands of other Americans whose personal information was leaked to the press,” the IRS said in a statement. “The IRS takes its responsibilities seriously and acknowledges that it failed to prevent Mr. Littlejohn’s criminal conduct and the unlawful disclosure of Mr. Griffin’s confidential data.”

“Accordingly, the IRS assures Mr. Griffin and other victims of Mr. Littlejohn’s actions that it has made significant investments in its data security to enhance its protection of taxpayer information. These investments address potential vulnerabilities in the IRS’s systems as identified by the Treasury Department. The statement continued: “Inspector General Tax Administration (TIGTA), which provides independent oversight of the IRS,” he said, adding that he would continue to work to address potential weaknesses.

The public apology comes as part of a settlement of Citadel CEO Griffin’s lawsuit against the IRS in the wake of the data breach, which occurred when IRS contractor Charles Littlejohn used his access to confidential tax return information to leak that data belonging to thousands of wealthy Americans to… Media between 2018 and 2020.


Littlejohn improperly accessed data through an IRS database and uploaded tax returns to a private website as a way to circumvent agency safeguards to prevent large downloads or uploads from IRS devices and systems.

He then saved the tax returns on multiple storage devices before passing the data to the media in 2019 and 2020. Littlejohn provided Trump’s tax information to The New York Times and provided data on others, including Griffin and Musk, to ProPublica.

The IRS left sensitive taxpayer information vulnerable to leaks, its inspector general found

Ken Griffin Castle

Griffin was one of thousands of wealthy Americans whose personal data was leaked to the press by a former IRS contractor. (Photo by Vernon Yuen/Noor Photo via Getty Images/Getty Images)

In January, Littlejohn, 38, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to unauthorized disclosure of tax returns and return information.

“I am grateful to my team for obtaining an outcome that will better protect American taxpayers and ultimately benefit all Americans,” Griffin said in a statement in response to the IRS’s apology amid the settlement.

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Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building.

The IRS said it has invested in new safeguards to protect taxpayer information and will look to prevent such incidents in the future. ((Photo by Stephanie Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

Brooke Cucinella, an attorney for Griffin’s firm Citadel Securities, appeared “Special Report” on Tuesday to discuss the case and said: “This is, ultimately, the exact outcome we were looking for. Ken brought this case in hopes of convincing the IRS to do what is right by all Americans and truly protect people’s information.”

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“The IRS was told year after year that they had security vulnerabilities, and they did nothing. So it took someone in Ken’s shoes, and I think we can all acknowledge, using Ken’s resources, to actually be able to pursue the case,” Cucinella added. That, and getting them to the point where, finally, they publicly acknowledge that we need to do something, and they committed to all Americans today that they will do it.”

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