A resolution to begin impeachment proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives has come against Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen, and the move comes just days after the Justice Department closed a two-year investigation into whether the IRS improperly targeted conservative applicant groups.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and 18 members of the Oversight Committee provided an official press release, in which Chairman Chaffetz stated that “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.”
Specific information given in this release states that Commissioner Koskinen “violated the public trust” by failing to comply with a subpoena, which resulted “… in destruction of key evidence.” This first charge, in its entirety: “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.”
Secondly, Koskinen “[f]ailed 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.”
The third charge is failure to notify. Commissioner Koskinen “[f]ailed 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.”
Letter to President Obama
In providing background, the fact that a letter was sent by Chairman Chaffetz and 51 members of Congress, calling for the removal of the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, is given. (See letter here.) The fact that the White House never replied to the letter perhaps is an important point.