A hearing by a U.S. House panel later this month could determine whether there is enough political will to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
The impeachment move was initiated earlier this year by House Freedom Caucus members, who remain angry the IRS illegally stonewalled and investigated conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status.
Koskinen, 77, was appointed in 2013 to head the IRS amid congressional investigations. Even though he did not oversee the illegal harrasment, he has drawn the ire of Republicans investigating the matter.
Koskinen is not the central figure in the scandal, a National Review editorial calling for his impeachment opined in June, but he is a “culpable figure.”
That’s because it was under Koskinen’s watch that “hundreds of backup tapes containing tens of thousands of e-mails — e-mails that were under congressional subpoena — were illegally destroyed, inhibiting investigation into the agency’s wrongdoing,” the editorial pointed out.
Despite alleged criminal activity within the IRS, Republican leaders in the Senate, afraid of the political fallout, have fought their House colleagues over calls for an impeachment vote that could fail in the Senate.
So an agreement was brokered to hold a special hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on September 21 to allow Koskinen to respond to the allegations.
Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, points out that Congress claims Koskinen lied in his congressional testimony, and also claim he was present when subpoenaed documents were destroyed.
“All of those are, I think, more than sufficient grounds to investigate whether he should be impeached,” von Spakovsky says.
Chris Farrell of Judicial Watch says Koskinen has been uncooperative with Congress and disrespectful to the idea that he’s subject to congressional oversight.
“He smiles at them very cheerfully and then tells them to drop dead,” Farrell says of Koskinen. “He’s a remarkably arrogant person and so far he’s gotten away with it.”
And he may escape punishment, news website Politico reported, thanks to Republicans who want to focus on the November election.
“I’m not sure it’s a wise thing to do before the election,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told the news website earlier this month.
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.