Tuesday, July 29, 2014
High Level Tax Deadbeats Pose Security Concerns For Pentagon
The Government Accountability Office has revealed that thousands of Pentagon employees and contractors with security clearances owe the U.S. Treasury unpaid taxes.
According to the GAO at the end of 2012 the amount outstanding was over $700 million. In some cases being a tax deadbeat could be the reason some of these contractors and Pentagon employees avoid making a watch list. With more than 5 million people and private contractors in government,it would be surprising, even suspicious, if none of them owed any back taxes.
However, employees that have access to highly classified information is a concern to the GAO. A person strapped for cash (a heavy tax burden in this case) with access to classified information leaves them susceptible to bribes and "selling out"-sensitive information. Now most people won't compromise their morals and ethics by yielding to monetary temptations but its a possibility that the GAO can't ignore.
“An individual who is financially overextended is at risk of having to engage in illegal acts to generate funds,” the agency writes, and that factor must be considered when deciding who can access government secrets.
The GAO found 26,000 Pentagon workers who owed delinquent taxes have access to classified information. Of those, 6,200 had higher-level clearances known as top secret “sensitive-compartmentalized information.” Although some in this group owed as little as a $100, others had tax debts in the millions.
Investigators found more than 200 people with clearances are subject to an IRS sanction called a “trust fund recovery penalty.” This means that they were responsible for paying or collecting taxes and “willfully” decided not to.
Its a curious quandary how someone can owe Uncle Sam and get on or remain on his payroll. This investigation by the GAO could possibly be an asset to National security and the IRS.