GOP averts vote on impeaching IRS commissioner

GOP averts vote on impeaching IRS commissioner

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has reached an agreement with Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteFight breaks out between Jordan, Nadler over rules about showing video at Garland hearing The job of shielding journalists is not finished Bottom line MORE (R-Va.) to delay an impeachment vote for IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Politico reported Wednesday night.

According to the report, the deal stipulates that Koskinen will have to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, which Goodlatte chairs, and no impeachment vote will take place before the November election.
In lieu of a vote, Koskinen will appear before the Judiciary Committee next Wednesday.

“The House Judiciary Committee will finally hold impeachment proceedings of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen next Wednesday," a Freedom Caucus statement reads. "This hearing will give every American the opportunity to hear John Koskinen answer under oath why he misled Congress, allowed evidence pertinent to an investigation to be destroyed, and defied Congressional subpoenas and preservation orders. It will also remove any lingering excuses for those who have been hesitant to proceed with this course of action."

The Judiciary Committee confirmed the hearing in a release of its own. It is set for Sept. 21 at 10 a.m. Koskinen will be the only person testifying.

Rep. 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.), who filed the privileged resolution to impeach the commissioner, said he was happy with the outcome of the deal in a pair of tweets.

"Happy that the resolution I filed is now leading to a formal impeachment hearing under oath of John Koskinen, the head of the IRS," he wrote. "The Conservative groups who were audited and the American people deserve not only answers from the [IRS], but also accountability."

Freedom Caucus members had been arguing that Koskinen should be impeached because he hindered congressional investigations into revelations that the IRS had subjected conservative groups' applications for tax-exempt status to extra scrutiny. 

But a number of Republican lawmakers were weary of voting for impeachment because the impeachment resolution had not gone through the regular process in the Judiciary Committee.
"There hasn't been a hearing where he showed up as a witness," Flores said. "And that's what we need to have, is a hearing where he shows up as a witness."
Flores personally supports impeachment, but the RSC didn't take a stance as a group.

The House Judiciary Committee earlier held two hearings to examine Koskinen's alleged misconduct but had not taken further action. At the first hearing, Reps. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzNunes retirement move seen as sign of power shift in GOP Congress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent Fox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows MORE (R-Utah) and Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) argued why Koskinen should be impeached. At the second hearing, outside experts discussed the standards for impeachment and whether Congress should take further action. 

Koskinen had been invited to testify at the first of those hearings but said he did not have time to prepare. He had said that he would be willing to testify in the future.
Harper Neidig contributed