House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz wants to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, but he's willing to settle for the lesser but still harsh charge of a censure against the tax collector.
Reports The Washington Post:
“My foremost goal is impeachment and I’m not letting go of it,” Chaffetz said in an interview. “But if censure is the right precursor while we go through the process of educating our members, I have a [censure] bill drafted and ready to go.”
Chaffetz and his fellow Republicans have a slew of grievances against Koskinen’s management of the tax agency he took over in 2013, and last week the House passed six anti-I.R.S. bills by party-line votes to mark Tax Day.
But the effort to remove Koskinen stems from a scandal that preceded him — the IRS’s treatment of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. And since his five-year term ends in November 2017, the GOP effort to oust him could drag on beyond the Obama presidency.
Chaffetz says Koskinen should be impeached for violating the public trust and lying to Congress as it investigated the IRS’s singling out of conservative groups for scrutiny.
The congressman has accused the commissioner of erasing back-up computer files containing thousands of e-mails written by Lois Lerner, the central IRS official in the scandal. Koskinen has told lawmakers his staff turned over all e-mails that were relevant to the investigation, and when some were found to be missing, said they were unrecoverable.
Chaffetz filed his articles of impeachment days after the Justice Department closed its investigation of the case and declined to file criminal charges.
“The Department of Justice should have taken action itself,” Chaffetz said. “We’ve got to stand up for ourselves. Our constituents are fed up with the inaction of the House.”