Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) said in a recent statement that federal workers with unpaid taxes who hold security clearances present a risk to national security.
“It is vital that the Administration and Congress work diligently to eliminate potential threats that compromise the integrity of the federal workforce and the privileged information they safeguard,” Dr. Coburn said. “Giving security clearances to individuals who fail to follow the law is unwise and risky. Federal tax cheats with security clearances jeopardize both our national and economic security, and could unnecessarily put our nation’s classified information at risk. We must take prudent precautions not only to enhance our security, but also to encourage federal employees to pay their share of taxes and live by the same rules that so many hard working Americans do.”
Coburn’s statement came in response to a new report from the Government Accountability Office that found 83,000 DOD employees and contractors eligible for a security clearance owed $730 million in unpaid federal taxes.
Federal workers with unpaid taxes has been a topic gaining more attention from Congress in recent years. Dr. Coburn was one of the sponsors of legislation introduced last year that would have prohibited the federal government from employing workers with unpaid taxes. The legislation would require all federal employees to be current on their federal income taxes, and would allow for the termination of any worker with seriously delinquent tax debt. Additionally, any individual in debt to the government because of unpaid federal taxes would be ineligible for employment with the federal government.
Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) also introduced similar legislation in the House when he called for terminating federal employees with unpaid taxes.
The latest data from the federal government show that federal workers collectively owe $3.3 billion in unpaid taxes. The figures are as of September 30, 2013.