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32-Year-Old Mystery Solved – Selective Service Admits Mistake

I recently had the pleasure to work with a 50-year-old client who worked as a consultant to the U.S. government, testifying as an expert witness in complex financial matters. Although my client had worked as a consultant to the U.S. government for many years, one of his clients, the IRS, had discovered during a routine background investigation that the Selective Service had no record of his registration. As such, my client was advised that he could no longer perform services on behalf of the IRS.

This, by the way, is an increasingly frequent practice of federal agencies. Today, many agencies require contractors to complete some of the same paperwork that federal employees complete during the onboarding process, including the Declaration for Federal Employment — better known as the OF 306. The OF 306 inquires whether the applicant has registered with the Selective Service. Regardless of how the applicant responds, the Agency will typically electronically verify whether the applicant has in fact registered with the Selective Service. If the Agency determines that the applicant has not registered, the applicant will be deemed ineligible for federal service — as an employee or contractor.

In this case, my client had answered “no” on the OF 306 when asked whether he had registered. Unfortunately, my client misunderstood the question. He had, in fact, registered 32 prior — when he was 18 years of age — and had a very specific recollection of doing so. However, the Selective Service System had no record of his registration. As a result, my client was barred from performing further services for the IRS, and his entire consulting practice with the federal government was in jeopardy.

After finding me on the internet, my client immediately engaged my services to secure a determination that he had not willfully and knowingly evaded his Selective Service registration obligation. While performing the standard fact gathering interview, I was certain that my client had in fact registered and suggested that he contact the Selective Service directly to determine if somehow a mistake had been made during the registration process. This is fairly standard advice to new clients who claim that they did in fact register — and I have had many clients in this situation. However, to date, none of these inquiries to Selective Service have been fruitful.

Remarkably, when my client called Selective Service, he was astounded to learn that indeed a mistake had been made and that the Selective Service had received his registration 32 years prior. The Selective Service employee immediately corrected the error and my client was cleared to resume his consulting practice with the IRS. A first.