Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnPaul Ryan should realize that federal earmarks are the currency of cronyism Republicans in Congress shouldn't try to bring back earmarks Republicans should know reviving earmarks is a political nightmare MORE (R-Okla.) said a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report shows that thousands of Department of Defense (DOD) employees and contractors owe the government more than $700 million in taxes.

According to the GAO report, “Security Clearances: Tax Debts Owed by DOD Employees and Contractors,”  83,000 employees and contractors eligible for security clearance owe $730 million in unpaid taxes.

“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,” Coburn said on Monday. “Giving security clearances to individuals who fail to follow the law is unwise and risky.”

Coburn said these “tax cheats” could jeopardize national security.

“Federal tax cheats with security clearances jeopardize both our national and economic security, and could unnecessarily put our nation’s classified information at risk,” Coburn said. “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 serves as ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.