House Conservatives Begin Trek To Impeach IRS Commissioner Koskinen
Posted By Kathryn Watson On 1:32 PM 05/24/2016 In | No Comments
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform leaders made their case Tuesday to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Subcommittee on National Security Chairman Ron DeSantis rolled out their case for impeaching Koskinen for ignoring subpoenas and lying to Congress under oath on the IRS targeting of conservative groups during the 2010 and 2012 election campaigns.
[dcquiz] Koskinen, who has told Congress he never sought the job, said he was too busy to accept his his invitation to attend the hearing of the House Committee on the Judiciary.
“Surely, this House should find it intolerable,” DeSantis testified. “As of today, not a single individual has been held accountable in any real way for what happened with the IRS. If Commissioner Koskinen can get away with his conduct, then other executive branch agencies will have a blueprint for how to stymie the Congress when it conducts legitimate oversight. This will further erode the power of the Congress, which is arguably at its historical nadir.”
Rep. Jim Jordan , one of Koskinen’s most determined critics, pointed out the standard for impeachment isn’t criminal behavior, but gross negligence, dereliction of duty and breach of public trust.
The arguments of the impeachment advocates were delivered to a judiciary panel whose chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, carefully avoided the word “impeachment” in titling the hearing “Examining the Allegations of Misconduct Against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.”
Democrats on the panel, led by Rep. Hank Johnson , quickly seized on the omission and called the IRS targeting controversy a “so-called” scandal.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee pointed out multiple times “this is not an impeachment hearing,” and House Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers said it is “no wonder” that “we have read reports of Speaker Ryan doing his best to make certain this measure never reaches the floor of the House — as Speaker Boehner did before him.”
The Hill previously reported conservatives cornered Speaker of the House Paul Ryan into allowing hearings, threatening to hold an impeachment vote on the House floor if he didn’t, something Democrats have been quick to acknowledge.
President Barack Obama appointed Koskinen in the wake of the conservative targeting scandal, in which the agency singled out hundreds of conservative and Tea Party groups to delay applications for tax-exempt status. Koskinen and former IRS executive Lois Lerner soon became emblematic of IRS problems.