This week, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and 18 members of the Committee introduced a resolution to begin proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen, according to a House statement.
In introducing the resolution, Chairman Chaffetz said, “Commissioner Koskinen violated the public trust. He failed to comply with a congressionally issued subpoena, documents were destroyed on his watch, and the public was consistently misled. Impeachment is the appropriate tool to restore public confidence in the IRS and to protect the institutional interests of Congress. This action will demonstrate to the American people that the IRS is under repair, and signal that Executive Branch officials who violate the public trust will be held accountable.”
Koskinen served as the chairman of the controversial Freddie Mac from September 2008 to December 2011, retiring from the Board in February 2012. On December 20, 2013, Koskinen was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to head the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as Commissioner of Internal Revenue. On December 23, 2013, Koskinen was sworn in as the 48th IRS Commissioner after being nominated by President Barack Obama.
“The Committee also found that the IRS was acutely aware of political pressure from the Obama Administration, Congressional Democrats, and the media to crack down on conservative tax-exempt groups engaged in lawful political speech activities. The IRS subsequently treated conservative-leaning tax-exempt applicants in a manner different from other applications for tax exemption.” – The Internal Revenue Service’s Targeting of Conservative Tax-Exempt Applicants: Report of Findings for the 113th Congress
Specifically, Commissioner Koskinen violated the public trust in the following ways:
- Failed to comply with a subpoena resulting in destruction of key evidence. Commissioner Koskinen failed to locate and preserve IRS records in accordance with a congressional subpoena and an internal preservation order. The IRS erased 422 backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails – key pieces of evidence that were destroyed on Koskinen’s watch.
- Failed to testify truthfully and provided false and misleading information. Commissioner Koskinen testified the IRS turned over all emails relevant to the congressional investigation, including all of Ms. Lerner’s emails. When the agency determined Ms. Lerner’s emails were missing, Commissioner Koskinen testified the emails were unrecoverable. These statements were false.
- Failed to notify Congress that key evidence was missing. The IRS knew Lois Lerner’s emails were missing in February 2014. In fact, they were not missing; the IRS destroyed the emails on March 4, 2014. The IRS did not notify Congress the emails were missing until June 2014 – four months later, and well after the White House and the Treasury Department were notified.
In July, Chairman Chaffetz, along with 51 members of Congress, sent a letter to President Obama calling for the removal of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. The White House failed to respond. The Committee released a video outlining a timeline of key events in the IRS targeting scandal.
List of cosponsoring members:
- Ron DeSantis (FL-06)
- Paul A. Gosar (AZ-04)
- Scott DesJarlais (TN-04)
- Blake Farenthold (TX-27)
- Tim Walberg (MI-07)
- Jody Hice (GA-10)
- Gary Palmer (AL-06)
- Mark Walker (NC-06)
- Mick Mulvaney (SC-05)
- Jim Jordan (OH-04)
- Steve Russell (OK-05)
- Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (GA-01)
- Glenn Grothman (WI-06)
- Cynthia M. Lummis (WY-AL)
- Will Hurd (TX-23)
- Justin Amash (MI-03)
- Michael R. Turner (OH-10)
- Thomas Massie (KY-04)