It’s Time to Impeach IRS Commissioner Koskinen
by Lamar Smith on December 17, 2015 at 4:17 PM
Today I joined fellow lawmakers in sponsoring a resolution to impeach Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen.
The IRS Commissioner should have put the public interest ahead of this administration’s political agenda. What the IRS did was a threat to democracy. Americans have lost confidence in IRS Commissioner Koskinen’s ability to lead what should be one of the most non-partisan agencies in the federal government. He has sought to cover up the agency’s political harassment of conservative organizations. This is inexcusable. It is a shame that Congress has to file an impeachment resolution because this administration should have fired him over a year ago.
The resolution specifically cites the following charges against Commissioner Koskinen:
- Failed to comply with a subpoena resulting in destruction of key evidence. Commissioner Koskinen failed to locate and preserve IRS records in accordance with a congressional subpoena and an internal preservation order. The IRS erased 422 backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails – key pieces of evidence that were destroyed on Koskinen’s watch.
- Failed to testify truthfully and provided false and misleading information. Commissioner Koskinen testified the IRS turned over all emails relevant to the congressional investigation, including all of Ms. Lerner’s emails. When the agency determined Ms. Lerner’s emails were missing, Commissioner Koskinen testified the emails were unrecoverable. These statements were false.
- Failed to notify Congress that key evidence was missing. The IRS knew Lois Lerner’s emails were missing in February 2014. In fact, they were not missing; the IRS destroyed the emails on March 4, 2014. The IRS did not notify Congress the emails were missing until June 2014 – four months later, and well after the White House and the Treasury Department were notified.
In addition to sponsoring the impeachment resolution, today I voted for a tax extenders bill that included previously-passed House measures to protect taxpayers and rein in the IRS.