IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on Thursday said he is committed to finishing his term, one day after Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee called for his removal.
“I signed up for a term that ends in November,” Koskinen said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing. “Where I come from, if you sign up for a commitment, you complete that commitment.”
Koskinen started as head of the IRS in 2013, several months after a Treasury inspector general report was released that found the agency had subjected conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status to extra scrutiny.
Fifteen Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee sent President Trump a letter Wednesday urging him to fire Koskinen. They criticized Koskinen for his conduct during the investigations into the political-targeting scandal and for customer-service issues at the IRS.
During Thursday’s hearing, Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsBob Dole, Pat Roberts endorse Kansas AG Derek Schmidt for governor Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Kan.) brought up the letter and told Koskinen, “I have been disappointed in your record in the agency.”
Roberts said he doesn’t think “we have meaningfully addressed the issues that politically targeting raises,” and said he didn’t think anyone has been held accountable. He also said that some groups are still experiencing delays with their applications, and this is “unacceptable.”
Koskinen said he regretted that Roberts was disappointed in his performance and said that the IRS has implemented recommendations from the Finance Committee and the Treasury inspector general about how to prevent political targeting in the future.
He added that he’s worried that there won’t be a new IRS commissioner confirmed by the time his term ends, and he has encouraged the White House to find a candidate for his successor “in the next month or two.”
Democrats on the Finance Committee came to Koskinen’s defense.
“I would urge you to stay on the job until your term expires in November,” said Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - US speeds evacuations as thousands of Americans remain in Afghanistan Biden finds few Capitol Hill allies amid Afghanistan backlash Trains matter to America MORE (D-Del.).
The top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenBiden pushes back at Democrats on taxes Want a clean energy future? Look to the tax code Democrats brace for toughest stretch yet with Biden agenda MORE (Ore.), told Koskinen that “the IRS will always be a punching bag, and my view is you have been accessible and you have been honorable in your service.”