Reps. Paul Ryan and Jason Chaffetz both believe IRS Commissioner John Koskinen should be fired, but they disagree about the timing. Chaffetz wants to remove Koskinen now, while Ryan says the GOP must win the White House first.
Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, with support from a majority of Republicans on his panel, introduced a resolution in October to impeach Koskinen.
“The framers [of the Constitution] gave us a safety valve to get rid of somebody who is not serving the best interest of the nation and clearly John Koskinen is not,” Chaffetz said in a brief interview Thursday. “His record is clear and he should be removed from office.”
The resolution argues that Koskinen failed to comply with a subpoena requesting certain IRS documents and that he provided false and misleading information to Congress about missing emails sent to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner, a lead figure in the targeting scandal. The Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over impeachments, has not acted on the resolution.
Lerner, the former head of the IRS tax-exempt organizations division, retired from the agency in September 2013. She had been on administrative leave since May 2013 after she revealed during a tax conference that the agency had inappropriately used political terms like “Tea Party” to filter tax-exemption applications for extra scrutiny.
The IRS has said it disputes the resolution’s allegations and that it has cooperated with congressional investigations.
Chaffetz said he is working to build broad support for his resolution, which currently has 62 Republican co-sponsors.
“It hasn’t been done in 140 years to impeach a civil officer,” Chaffetz said when asked about resistance from colleagues to support the effort. “But we think we’re on firm ground. It is in the Constitution.”
As to Ryan’s idea of waiting for Republicans to win the White House, Chaffetz said, “That’s one path, but I want the bureaucracy to know that if they do something as reprehensible as destroying documents there is an action that Congress can take.”