House Republicans have introduced a resolution to impeach Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, about which, a simple thought – it’s about damn time.
Impeaching a senior official of the federal government is no small deal. Only seventeen times since the Constitution came into force in 1789 has the House of Representatives even tried to impeach a federal official; only eight times has the Senate seen fit to convict. And not since March of 1876 has an appointed executive branch official been impeached. It’s a difficult thing to do, and it was meant to be; it should only be used for the most egregious offenses.
The text of H. Res. 494, introduced by Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzGOP chairman: Time to remove IRS chief IRS head: Impeachment resolution 'without merit' IRS hearing: Five things to watch MORE (R-Utah) and cosponsored by 22 others, makes plain Koskinen’s “abuse or violation of the public trust.”
In four separate articles of impeachment, Koskinen is charged with:
Failing to comply with a subpoena for evidence, resulting in the destruction of that evidence – 422 backup tapes, which housed as many as 24,000 Lois Lerner emails;
Failing to testify truthfully and providing false and misleading information to the Congress – Koskinen testified that the IRS had turned over all emails relevant to the congressional investigation (including Lerner’s emails), and then, when that proved to be inaccurate, he testified that the emails were unrecoverable, which also turned out to be false;
Failing to notify Congress that key evidence had gone missing – the IRS knew the Lerner emails were missing as early as February 2014, and, in fact, destroyed the emails in early March 2014. But the IRS didn’t tell Congress until June of that year, well after White House and Treasury officials had been notified.
In each of these charges, the evidence is clear – it is Koskinen’s own words, offered in sworn testimony to Congress, compared to the record of his and the IRS’s actions.
The resolution has been moved to the House Judiciary Committee, which will, presumably, mark it up and send it to the floor at the discretion of the House GOP Leadership. This gives newly elected House Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanWhy didn’t Republicans invite the IG to the IRS hearings? Ryan secures big win with bipartisan Puerto Rico deal GOP mired in Zika dispute MORE (R-Wis.) the perfect opportunity to prove to conservatives and the American people alike that he is truly ready to do the peoples’ work.
This shouldn’t be a heavy lift for Ryan – remember the Ways and Means oversight hearing where he tore into Koskinen, saying repeatedly he simply did not believe him? I do.
And what do the 2016 Republican presidential contenders think about the latest IRS revelations? Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzEven in defeat, Trump could harm the country irreparably Sanders steps up his attacks in homestretch 5 takeaways from the rush for campaign cash MORE (R-Texas) has asked the Justice Department to save documents related to the IRS investigation so that the next administration can have a shot at justice. But are the others willing to step in and defend the American people should one of them win the White House? Might I suggest that Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo at Fox Business Network choose this as a subject of conversation during tonight's debate over some of the more ridiculous topics we've seen from other forums this year?
Remember, it was the IRS that was used as a political weapon to target citizens who were deemed opponents of this Administration. My organization and many affiliated with it have been on the receiving end of this political weapon and I would not wish it upon any American--including my worst political adversaries.
Not surprisingly, it was announced last month that the Obama Justice Department would not press charges against the person at the center of this scandal – former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner. So, just when will the American people receive justice?
A start would be to impeach and convict the man who continued the cover-up and denied justice for the American people, and I truly give House Republicans credit for seeming to understand this. Will Congress step up and do something meaningful to defend the American people? Help make your voice heard by adding your voice to the national petition at www.ImpeachJohn.com.
It’s about damn time.
Martin is president and co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.