House Republicans, led by Rep. Chaffetz, move to impeach IRS head

Posted at 4:36 PM, Oct 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-27 18:37:15-04

By Theodore Schleifer and Tom LoBianco


WASHINGTON (CNN) — A group of House Republicans moved Tuesday to impeach the head of the IRS, the tax agency struggling to recover from scandal.

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee introduced a resolution calling for the ouster of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who became head of the agency after an official there acknowledged targeting conservative nonprofit groups during the last presidential campaign.

The Justice Department recently closed its investigation of the matter, with no charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner or anyone else at the agency.

Republicans have said Koskinen has not complied with their investigation.

“Commissioner Koskinen violated the public trust. He failed to comply with a congressionally issued subpoena, documents were destroyed on his watch, and the public was consistently misled,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said in a statement. “Impeachment is the appropriate tool to restore public confidence in the IRS and to protect the institutional interests of Congress.”

Chaffetz and his 18 fellow Republicans said Koskinen had destroyed backup emails from Lerner, gave the committee false testimony and then did not notify immediately investigators that Lerner’s emails were not available.

“Unfortunately this was earned. The IRS commissioner provided false testimony and he destroyed documents that were under subpoena,” Chaffetz said on Capitol Hill Tuesday. “If you did that to the IRS, what would they do to you? It’s unfortunate to have to get to this point. But its appropriate and necessary.”

Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who recently considered launching his own bid for speaker, did not say whether the presumptive next speaker, Paul Ryan, supported the impeachment push.

Koskinen testified earlier Tuesday in front of the Senate Committee on Finance, where he said the IRS would do better at preserving records like emails.

The IRS said Tuesday it did not have an immediate comment on the resolution. But Rep. Elijah Cummings, the committee’s top Democrat, bashed the impeachment attempt.

“This ridiculous resolution will demonstrate nothing but the Republican obsession with diving into investigative rabbit holes that waste tens of millions of taxpayer dollars while having absolutely no positive impact on a single American,” he said in a statement. “Calling this resolution a ‘stunt’ or a ‘joke’ would be insulting to stunts and jokes.”

CNN’s Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan contributed to this report.

™ & © 2015 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.