A Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit has discovered a city’s worth of Pentagon employees who have two things in common: they’re all eligible for high-level security clearances, and, during the period for which the report was conducted, they all owed the government a combined $730 million in back taxes.
The GAO audit found that, from among the 5 million government employees and non-government contractors cleared to access sensitive information, approximately 83,000 Pentagon workers eligible for such a clearance also owed the government delinquent tax money. The report covered a five-year period between 2006 and 2011.
According to a breakdown of the report published Monday at The Hill, 26,000 of the Pentagon employees recognized by the audit actually held security clearances. Their delinquency amounted to $229 million.
“About 4,800 of the 83,000 employees had IRS liens against their property, and 23,000 were subject to wage garnishment and other IRS collection tactics,” The Hill observed.
It’s not currently against the law for the government to retain employees – even employees entrusted with sensitive and confidential information – who can’t be trusted to render unto Caesar. The GAO advised, though, that awarding security clearances to people who’ve skipped out on their Federal tax bill “poses a potential vulnerability.”
The Pentagon isn’t the only government entity with an employee tax-dodging problem. You may remember an April report that revealed the IRS itself had awarded $1 million in bonus pay to more than 1,000 employees who had “substantiated Federal tax compliance problems.”