A few years ago, John Koskinen, head of the Internal Revenue Service when it was being weaponized by the Obama White House to target conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status ahead of the 2012 election, repeatedly gave false and incomplete testimony to a series of congressional committees trying to get to the bottom of the scandal.
And now, dozens of Republican lawmakers in the House want President Donald J. Trump to do what the Congress itself could not: Fire him.
As reported exclusively by the Washington Examiner, 50 members of the House Republican Study Committee, a group of the most conservative members of Congress, want the new president to terminate Koskinen’s employment at the IRS – and as soon as possible.
Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., is expected to make the request as chairman of the RSC, after quietly, but urgently, circulating a letter inside the GOP conference to garner support.
Though Trump has already nominated most of his Cabinet, he has remained silent thus far on the fate of the IRS and its embattled chief. But conservatives are gunning hard for Koskinen after the way he allowed his agency to be hyper-politicized by the previous administration. (RELATED: Find out just how the bureaucracy is targeting average Americans today at BigGovernment.news)
“You have the authority to remove Commissioner Koskinen,” Walker says in his letter to the president, adding that “we encourage you to dismiss him in the most expedient manner practicable.”
In October 2015, House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, drew up articles of impeachment against Koskinen. Since that time, conservatives have said that the IRS chief is guilty of interfering with a congressional investigation and aiding/abetting the continued targeting of conservative non-profit organizations.
In his letter, Walker reintroduces the same issue to the 115th Congress. He also heavily criticizes the IRS for “improperly targeting conservative groups,” and for failing to “demonstrate that officials have definitively ceased targeting conservative groups.” He is attempting to build on last year’s failed impeachment attempt that was launched by the House Freedom Caucus, the Washington Examiner reported.
“The consideration of the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in the House in late 2016 was a clear indication that Congress and the American people have no confidence in Commissioner Koskinen or his ability to discharge his duties,” Walker wrote.
But that was then; when the nation was hyper-focused on the presidential race, the House Freedom Caucus attempted to force House Speaker Paul Ryan to pursue impeachment, but as he struggled to keep the Republican majority together, he pleaded with conservatives to wait until after the election to focus on personnel changes at IRS.
Unwilling to wait, on Dec. 5, Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, introduced a privileged resolution on the House floor in an attempt to force an impeachment vote. It failed due to a lack of leadership support. (RELATED: Keep up with the latest on the Trump administration at WhiteHouse.news)
AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan, said the opposition to the effort had more to do with a scheduling conflict. “It would have triggered automatic consideration lasting into next year, filling up weeks of floor time and crippling our ability to hit the ground running on Trump administration confirmations and Obamacare repeal,” she said in a statement at the time.
But now, after a month of 2017, Republicans still have not voted on a measure to repeal Obamacare, and Koskinen still has his job. So Walker’s letter is the first to try to change that; if he’s not successful, Koskinen could stay on at the IRS until November 12, 2017.
For Chaffetz, the impeachment case was practically open-and-shut.
“When Congress asks you a question, you’re expected to give a truthful answer,” he said during opening remarks in making the case for Koskinen’s impeachment. “When Congress issues a subpoena, compliance is not optional. Imagine if a taxpayer failed to comply with an IRS summons or subpoena, what would they do to you?”
See his opening remarks below: