A top congressional staffer was charged with failing to file tax returns for five years, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
Isaac Lanier Avant, chief of staff to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Democratic staff director for the Homeland Security Committee, allegedly did not file returns for the 2009 to 2013 tax years.
Story Continued Below
“In May 2005, Avant filed a form with his employer that falsely claimed he was exempt from federal income taxes,” the Justice Department said in a press release. “Avant did not have any federal tax withheld from his paycheck until the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mandated that his employer begin withholding in January 2013.”
Avant, 38, earned about $170,000 during the period in question, Justice said.
If he’s convicted, Avant faces up to five years in prison and monetary penalties. A spokesperson for Thompson, who is the top Democrat on Homeland Security, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Bernie Becker contributed to this report.