PSH-18-0040 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

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On July 18, 2018, an OHA Administrative Judge (AJ) issued a decision in which he determined that an individual's DOE access authorization should not be granted. The individual applied for a security clearance in 2016. During the investigation process, it was revealed that the individual had not consistently filed and paid his state and federal taxes, that he owed a state and federal tax debt, and that he had several other delinquent debts. The individual had established a payment plan with the IRS for his federal tax debt but had no payment plan for his state tax debt. During a PSI in September 2017, the individual revealed that he had not filed or paid his state or federal taxes for 2016. However, he stated that he had received an extension and would do so before the extension expired. He also promised to address certain debts and set up a payment plan for his state tax debt. As of the date of a second PSI in December 2017, the individual still had not addressed certain delinquent debts, filed his state or federal taxes for 2016, or set up a payment plan for his state tax debt. The individual’s Local Security Office (LSO) issued him a Notification Letter alleging that the individual had delinquent debts and that he had not taken action on some of those debts despite pledging to do so in his first PSI. The LSO also alleged that the individual had not filed his state and federal taxes for 2016 and that he did not follow through on statements during his first PSI that he would file his tax returns and set up a payment plan on his state tax debt. At a hearing in June 2018, the individual established that he had settled or investigated most of the delinquent debts on the Notification Letter and that he had filed his state and federal tax returns for 2016 and 2017. However, the individual had not yet paid his state or federal taxes for both years and had not yet set up any new payment plans. He had also waited until two days before the hearing to file his 2016 taxes. The AJ found that the individual's delinquent debts and his failure to file and pay his taxes by required deadlines raised serious security concerns. He further found that the individual had mitigated some of those concerns, particularly through his efforts to pay off delinquent debts and by showing that his wife's temporary loss of employment affected his ability to pay his debts. However, the AJ found that the individual's failure to file and pay his taxes was still too recent to conclude that such conduct was unlikely to recur. The AJ also found that the individual had not shown that he had made a good-faith effort to file and pay his taxes, given that he waited until two days before the hearing to file his 2016 taxes. Accordingly, the AJ found that the individual's access authorization should not be granted. OHA Case No. PSH-18-0040. (Gregory S. Krauss).