House Republicans call for impeachment of IRS head
A group of House Republicans took to the House floor on Thursday evening to argue in favor of impeaching Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen.
“You have an IRS commissioner who breached multiple duties that he owed to the public, and he violated the public trust,” said Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.).
The lawmakers accused Koskinen of improprieties relating to the investigation into the political-targeting scandal.
They accused him of failing to comply with subpoenas, allowing documents to be destroyed, making false statements under oath and failing to inform Congress promptly when he learned thousands of emails were lost.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said that Koskinen was brought in to clean up the IRS after the political targeting was revealed. However, “every single duty he had, he breached,” Jordan said.
“As it has become abundantly clear, Commissioner Koskinen has failed the American people by stonewalling congressional investigations into the IRS targeting scandal,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.).
Last fall, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced a resolution to begin House proceedings to impeach Koskinen. Lawmakers said that the articles of impeachment should be brought up in the House Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), a member of the Oversight Committee, said “the American people are well aware that the IRS has placed itself above the law.”
There are political obstacles to impeaching Koskinen.
Earlier on Thursday, an attendee at an event hosted by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) asked Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) about whether there will be movement to impeach Koskinen and whether such an effort would be backed by House leadership. Roskam said he was not sure, citing the dwindling length of Koskinen’s term, the short congressional schedule and the realities of what the Senate would do if the House took action.
Roskam said if Koskinen were impeached, “the question then becomes who would come along and who would be the new person. And I think that there is an advantage to having the current IRS commissioner in place in that you know exactly what he’s going to say, exactly what he’s going to defend, and so forth.”
ATR president Grover Norquist said that even if it doesn’t make sense to oust Koskinen now, “the man deserves impeaching.”