Unless you are the president.
President Trump — privy to the nation’s most precious secrets — the vice president and members of Congress aren’t subjected to the same background investigation many federal workers must endure to get or keep jobs. Those jobs are with organizations that do sensitive work, but the people are not necessarily spies, intelligence analysts or in high-level positions. They can be receptionists and office workers.
Whatever position, they must have their finances under control in the eyes of agency decision-makers. Being hundreds of millions of dollars in debt certainly would raise countless red flags. But not for Trump.
The president’s “finances are under stress, beset by losses and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due that he has personally guaranteed,” according a New York Times article pegging his debt at $421 million.
Security clearances have been denied to regular employees and contractors for much less. Their stories reflect the financial difficulties that can hit even in the best of times. Reports from the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals, which considers security clearance contractor cases from dozens of agencies, provide these details, but no names.
●A 51-year-old married office manager with two adult children had a security clearance since 1988. She earned about $80,000 annually. Because of admitted poor judgment and setting her own bills aside while she helped family members, she accumulated $51,000 in debt, including $12,000 in federal taxes.
The debt concern “is broader than the possibility that a person might knowingly compromise classified information to raise money,” wrote Noreen A. Lynch, an administrative judge in the office manager’s case. Quoting government guidelines, Lynch said “failure to live within one’s means, satisfy debts, and meet financial obligations may indicate poor self-control, lack of judgment, or unwillingness to abide by rules and regulations,