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 GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview 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 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.), 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.
Rep. Bill FloresWilliam (Bill) Hose FloresThe Hill's Campaign Report: Warren, Sanders overtake Biden in third-quarter fundraising The Hill's Morning Report — Trump broadens call for Biden probes Pete Sessions announces bid for Bill Flores's Texas House seat MORE (R-Texas), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said last week that he thought supporters of a floor vote on impeachment were likely to defer if Judiciary held a hearing.
"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 ChaffetzHouse Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke GOP senators decline to criticize Acosta after new Epstein charges 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