House panel to hold impeachment hearings for IRS head

House panel to hold impeachment hearings for IRS head
© Cameron Lancaster

The House Judiciary Committee will consider impeaching IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in upcoming hearings.

The committee will look at Koskinen's alleged misconduct relating to Congress's investigation into the IRS's targeting of political groups.

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“Despite repeated congressional efforts to get to the bottom of this matter, Obama Administration officials, including the IRS Commissioner, have consistently undermined the investigation," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteTop Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview It’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute DOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling MORE (R-Va.) said.

"Over the coming weeks, the House Judiciary Committee will closely examine Commissioner Koskinen’s misconduct and the implications of his actions.”

The IRS responded with a statement reading: "Commissioner Koskinen and the IRS workforce remain focused on serving the nation’s taxpayers. In addition to completing a successful filing season this spring, we continue making progress on a number of important issues involving taxpayer service, tax enforcement and cybersecurity."

At a Judiciary Committee hearing on May 24, witnesses will present the findings of the House Oversight Committee's investigation into Koskinen. Koskinen will also be invited to testify at that hearing.

Many Oversight Committee members have found that Koskinen failed to comply with a subpoena, made false statements under oath and failed to notify Congress that emails from former IRS official Lois Lerner were missing.

In June, the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing in which outside experts will discuss the findings from the May hearing and comment on whether Congress should take any additional action. 

Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have called for Koskinen's impeachment. The Freedom Caucus and its chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), praised Goodlatte for scheduling the hearings on Koskinen.

"Commissioner Koskinen must be held accountable for years of stonewalling Congress’ oversight efforts, obfuscating justice, providing false testimony before Congress, and failing to hold agency officials liable for unlawfully targeting groups based on their beliefs," the Freedom Caucus said in a statement.

Jordan said that Koskinen "has most assuredly violated the public trust."

"It’s time for him to go. A hearing is the right first step, but ultimately Congress should hold a vote on impeachment,” he said.

The Tea Party Patriots, which says it was targeted by the IRS, said the hearings were the least that the House Judiciary Committee could do.

"Frankly, we are still waiting for someone to hold Lois Lerner accountable for her role in directing the targeting of Americans, but we also believe it's important to hold Commissioner Koskinen accountable," Tea Party Patriots co-founder and chief executive officer Jenny Beth Martin said in a statement. 

"We hope the facts uncovered by the House Judiciary Committee in these hearings will lead to impeachment proceedings against John Koskinen for his misconduct as IRS Commissioner.”

- Updated at 4:42 p.m.