Tester to Clapper: Ensure your workers pay taxes

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) demanded that National Security Director James Clapper ensure contractors with security clearance aren’t delinquent on their taxes.

Tester said he sent a letter to Clapper on Wednesday after a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that more than 80,000 Department of Defense contractors haven’t paid $730 million in federal taxes owed. 

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“This unacceptable situation raises national security concerns and sends the message to taxpayers that some folks don't have to play by the rules, but can still be trusted with access to our nation's most sensitive information,” Tester wrote. “Given the scope of this problem and the amount of debt involved, I urge you to address this matter comprehensively and promptly.”

Tester said it was a “slap in the face” to law-abiding taxpayers and that it could jeopardize national security interests because some of the employees have security clearance. 

“Some of these individuals with delinquent tax debt are jeopardizing our national security because of poor judgment and decision-making,” Tester wrote. "Potentially harmful financial behaviors should not be ignored after an individual is granted or deemed eligible to have a security clearance.”