Politics

Thompson Staffer Still Employed After Tax Conviction

Isaac Lanier Avant is facing new charges relating to a security clearance form

Isaac Lanier Avant served as chief of staff to Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson. (Courtesy Congressional Black Caucus Foundation)

A Capitol Hill staffer convicted of failing to file income tax returns, who faces new charges of falsifying a security clearance form, remained employed in Rep. Bennie Thompson’s office after his previous conviction.

A spokesman for the Mississippi Democrat confirmed Thursday that Isaac Lanier Avant, who served as Thompson’s chief of staff, was still employed by the office. Asked if Avant would remain employed following the new charges relating to his security clearance form, the spokesman said he believed Thompson would be making a statement on the subject soon. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced Wednesday evening that prosecutors were charging Avant with falsifying the standard security clearance form known as SF-86. Avant had previously been sentenced to four months of prison time, which would be served on the weekends over a 12-month period, for failing to file income tax returns.

Thompson is the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee. Avant served as the staff director for the panel’s Democratic side, which meant he had to fill out a security clearance form.

On the SF-86 form, prosecutors allege Avant marked “no” when asked if he had ever failed to file taxes. Prosecutors noted Avant filled out the form in 2008 and 2013.

The Thompson spokesman said Avant was no longer the staff director for the Democratic side of the committee. He did not know when Avant left the position.

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