IRS chief makes his case to GOP lawmakers

IRS chief makes his case to GOP lawmakers
© Cameron Lancaster

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on Wednesday made his case against impeachment to two groups of House Republicans.

Koskinen met with members of the moderate Tuesday Group as well as with members of the conservative Republican Study Committee, where some lawmakers support his impeachment.

“He just wanted to state his case,” said Tuesday group co-chair Charlie Dent (R-Pa.).


The argument to impeach Koskinen is that he did not comply with a subpoena and made false statements under oath while Congress was investigating the IRS’s scrutiny of conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status.

The controversy over the IRS's actions took place before Koskinen became IRS Commissioner. 

In July, Reps. John FlemingJohn Calvin FlemingLobbying world Trump wants Congress to delay Census deadlines amid pandemic Meadows sets up coronavirus hotline for members of Congress MORE (R-La.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) introduced a “privileged” resolution to impeach Koskinen.

If they give notice, the House will have two legislative days to act on the bill. The House could vote to table the measure or refer it to committee instead of holding a vote on impeachment.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE (R-Wis.), who has been cool to the impeachment talk, said Wednesday that the House Republican Conference will meet about the resolution next week, and members “are going to vote the way they want to vote on this."

Dent said that Koskinen had asked to speak to the Tuesday Group and members accepted. Many members wanted to hear “from the man at the center of the issue,” he said.

During the meeting, Koskinen “said that he came into the position after all the targeting occurred,” Dent said.

He predicted the House will vote to refer the impeachment measure to committee, and that he supported the referring or tabling of the measure.

“There has to be some level of due process observed,” he said, adding that a floor vote without that “would set quite a precedent.”

The RSC meeting with Koskinen came after a member asked the group’s chairman, Bill FloresWilliam (Bill) Hose FloresThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picks Hillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it MORE (R-Texas), if Koskinen could come to the group’s lunch. RSC members who were present at the time then voted to invite Koskinen, according to a senior GOP aide.

Nearly 40 RSC members met with Koskinen. There were a couple of pointed questions during the meeting but it was largely collegial, the aide said.

According to Flores, Koskinen asked that impeachment be considered through the committee process, where he can defend himself, versus an immediate up-or-down vote.
"I think the key message he was trying to deliver was that if there’s an impeachment, it should go through what I would call the regular order impeachment process," Flores told The Hill.

Flores said that he would "probably" vote for the Freedom Caucus's impeachment resolution if it came up for a vote.

The RSC does not have an official stance on impeaching Koskinen.

Cristina Marcos contributed reporting.