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Top House Panel Wants IRS Chief John Koskinen Impeached

Image: Top House Panel Wants IRS Chief John Koskinen Impeached
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 27 Oct 2015 05:11 PM

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee introduced a resolution Tuesday to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen over his actions in the tea party targeting scandal, including providing false information to Congress and the destruction of the emails of former supervisor Lois Lerner.

"Commissioner Koskinen violated the public trust," Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah said. "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," Chaffetz said. "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."

On Tuesday, Cleta Mitchell, an attorney representing one of the groups targeted by the IRS, told Newsmax TV that the investigation had been a "sham."

"I don't think they did a real investigation," Mitchell said Monday on "Newsmax Prime." "They never interviewed any of the victims. To my knowledge they did not interview a single victim of the IRS targeting."

The committee's move comes after the Justice Department said on Friday that it was closing its two-year investigation of the targeting debacle without charging Lerner or any other IRS employee.

The decision sparked outrage among conservatives and many tea party groups that were heavily scrutinized in their applications for tax-exempt from the agency.

Lerner, now 65, oversaw the division that screened the applications. She retired shortly after the scandal broke in 2013 and was held in contempt of Congress for twice refusing to testify on the screening.

Koskinen testified Tuesday before the Senate Finance Committee on the scandal.

According to the Oversight Committee's resolution, Koskinen violated the public trust by:
  • Failing to comply with a subpoena that resulted in the erasing of 422 backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 of Lerner's emails. The evidence was destroyed on Koskinen's watch.
  • Failing to testify truthfully and provided misleading information in telling Congress that all relevant emails had been turned over, but later admitting that they were missing and could not be recovered. The Treasury Department's inspector general has since located as many as 30,000 of Lerner's emails.
  • Failing to tell Congress that Lerner's emails were missing in February 2014 in response to a subpoena. The emails were destroyed on March 4, 2014, according to investigators. The agency told Congress that the emails were missing four months later, in June 2014, and that was "well after" it had informed the White House and the Treasury Department.
In July, Chaffetz called for President Barack Obama to remove Koskinen, who took over the embattled agency in December 2013. His letter was supported by 51 Republicans.

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The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee introduced a resolution Tuesday to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen over his actions in the tea party targeting scandal, including providing false information to Congress...
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2015-11-27
Tuesday, 27 Oct 2015 05:11 PM
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