Ex-IRS chiefs urge House to reject impeaching Koskinen

Ex-IRS chiefs urge House to reject impeaching Koskinen
© Cameron Lancaster

Eight former IRS commissioners from both Democratic and Republican administrations are urging the House to reject resolutions to impeach or censure the current head of the agency, John Koskinen.

"Overall, their primary impact would be to harm millions of everyday Americans, small businesses, and other taxpayers as they attempt to comply with their obligations imposed by our tax laws," the former commissioners said in a letter sent this week to Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBottom Line Paul Ryan says Trump will win reelection because of 'record of accomplishment' Pence loses House office space MORE (R-Wis.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Some House Republicans, particularly members of the House Freedom Caucus, have called for Koskinen's impeachment because they believe he failed to comply with a subpoena and lied under oath during a House investigation into revelations that the IRS had given extra scrutiny to Tea Party groups' applications for tax-exempt status.

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The former commissioners said that Koskinen has been doing good work in the job.

"In our view, much of the success of the present IRS is attributable to its dedicated and capable employees and the leadership of Commissioner Koskinen," they said.

"Both within the IRS and among tax practitioners, Commissioner Koskinen is recognized as an honest and honorable public servant who is trying to do a good job on behalf of our country and its citizens in running the IRS under trying circumstances," they added.

The House Judiciary Committee has held two hearings about whether Koskinen should be impeached, but the committee has not taken additional actions since then. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has also approved a resolution to censure Koskinen, which Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzLawmakers contemplate a tough political sell: Raising their pay Top Utah paper knocks Chaffetz as he mulls run for governor: ‘His political career should be over’ Boehner working on memoir: report MORE (R-Utah) has called a "precursor" to impeachment.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) will continue to push for Koskinen's impeachment, a spokesperson for the caucus said Friday.

“Rep. Jordan remains committed to holding Commissioner Koskinen accountable for obstructing justice, disregarding congressional subpoenas, withholding information from Congress – and ultimately from the American people," the spokesperson, Alyssa Farah, said.

The former IRS leaders said that the agency "particularly needs strong leadership and stability right now," given that the IRS has had multiple commissioners and seen its budget and workforce slashed in recent years.

"Constant leadership changes, financial strain, increased workload, and personnel losses have created turmoil and hurt performance," the former commissioners said. "Replacing the IRS Commissioner yet again — leading to the fifth IRS Commissioner in four years — would only make the problems worse."

updated at 4:24 p.m.