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 FlemingThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems aim to end anti-Semitism controversy with vote today Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles Overnight Energy: Watchdog opens investigation into Interior chief | Judge halts Pruitt truck pollution rule decision | Winners, losers in EPA, Interior spending bill amendments 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 RyanTrump quietly rolled back programs to detect, combat weapons of mass destruction: report Ocasio-Cortez top aide emerges as lightning rod amid Democratic feud Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller 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 FloresOvernight Energy: GOP lawmaker parodies Green New Deal in new bill | House Republicans accuse Dems of ramming through climate bill | Park Service chief grilled over shutdown House Republicans accuse Dems of ramming through climate bill Seven Republicans vote against naming post office after ex-Rep. Louise Slaughter 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.