House Republicans Move to Impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen

House Republicans, enraged by the inaction that has hindered federal investigations into the IRS, introduced a resolution Tuesday to impeach Commissioner John Koskinen, charging him of lying under oath and failing to respond to subpoenas for evidence.

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz declared in the four articles of impeachment that Koskinen “engaged in a pattern of conduct that is incompatible with his duties as an officer of the United States.”

The accusations follow numerous congressional probes into the IRS’ 2012 targeting of conservative groups, which GOP lawmakers argue the commissioner helped stonewall.

“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,” Chaffetz, R-Utah, said in a statement.

“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 became commissioner in 2013 after the scandal surfaced, but Chaffetz and 18 of his Republican colleagues said his failure to comply with a subpoena enabled IRS employees to destroy key evidence necessary to investigations.

Soon after the Senate confirmed Koskinen in February 2014, Congress ordered him to submit all emails associated with Lois Lerner, the former director of the IRS’ exemptions division at the time of the agency’s targeting.

The commissioner failed to do so, the resolution states, and just three weeks after the subpoena was issued, roughly 24,000 emails were destroyed.

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Further, the committee contends that Koskinen “engaged in a pattern of deception,” detailing multiple occasions where the commissioner made false statements under oath during congressional hearings.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement Tuesday the House Judiciary Committee would review the impeachment resolution.

“This has become an all too familiar pattern in an administration that chooses to misdirect, obscure and outright lie rather than truthfully describe their own actions,” Issa said. “There has to be some consequence for misleading and obstructing a congressional investigation.”

The announcement arrived just days after the Justice Department said it would close its two-year investigation into the IRS without pressing criminal charges.

“We found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution,” the Justice Department said in its letter delivered to Congress.

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said the “misconduct and misdeeds” of those in government do not have to be illegal to initiate impeachment proceedings.

“The original intent of the framers of the Constitution was for impeachment to be used to remove not just officials guilty of lawlessness or violations of specific legal requirements, but also to remove individuals guilty of maladministration.”

He said that would include “those whose actions in government were incompetent, inept, ineffectual, and negligent.”

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