GOP platform calls for impeachment of IRS chief

GOP platform calls for impeachment of IRS chief
© Greg Nash

The Republican Party platform adopted Monday calls for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen to be impeached and removed from office.

The commissioner "has lied to Congress, hidden evidence, and stonewalled investigations,” the platform states without explicitly using Koskinen's name. “He should be impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted by the Senate.”

Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus last Thursday filed a resolution to impeach Koskinen — going against the wishes of Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone Overnight Regulation: FTC to probe Facebook over user data | FDA takes step to regulating flavors in tobacco products | Congress may include background check measure in funding bill Judge rules FEC wrongly dismissed complaint against conservative group MORE (R-Wis.) and setting the stage for a vote on the matter in September.

Freedom Caucus members have argued that Koskinen should be impeached because he engaged in misconduct while the House was investigating the IRS’s handling of conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status. But not all congressional Republicans support impeachment, and Koskinen has said that the allegations against him lack merit.

The GOP platform calls the IRS “toxic” and says the agency “has become an ideological attack dog for the worst elements of today’s Democratic Party.”

Republicans are calling for the repeal of the “Johnson Amendment,” which bars nonprofits from endorsing political candidates.

“Places of worship for the first time in our history have reason to fear the loss of tax-exempt status merely for espousing and practicing traditional religious beliefs that have been held across the world for thousands of years, and for almost four centuries in America,” the platform states. “We value the right of America’s religious leaders to preach, and Americans to speak freely, according to their faith.”

Republicans support simplifying the tax code to a point where the IRS would become obsolete and could be eliminated, according to the platform.

The platform calls for lowering the corporate tax rate so that it is equal to or lower than the rates in other industrialized countries. It also recommends moving to a “territorial” tax system that does not tax the foreign earnings of U.S. companies.

The platform states that any national sales tax or value-added tax should only be imposed if the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, which established the federal income tax, is also repealed. It opposes increasing the federal gas tax or creating a carbon tax. And it calls for the repeal of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which requires foreign banks to provide information to the IRS about account holders who are U.S. citizens.