Dan Gilmore / June 26, 2015

House Republicans Mull Impeachment of IRS Head

Last February, Barack Obama glibly claimed there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS. A month later, at the height of the scandal over the IRS targeting conservative nonprofits, the agency destroyed 422 backup tapes that might have contained 24,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails. Here’s what the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee learned at its hearing yesterday: Yes, the IRS knew of significant gaps in the public record. Yes, Congress issued a preservation order and a subpoena. But still, records were destroyed. Furthermore, eight days after former chair of the House Ways and Means Committee David Camp sent a letter to the IRS in June 2011 inquiring about the targeting of Tea Party groups, Lerner’s hard drive somehow crashed. Tim Camus, the deputy inspector for investigations, calls the whole email-destroying frenzy an “unbelievable set of circumstances.” As for Republican lawmakers, they think the unbelievable set of circumstances is grounds for the impeachment of IRS commissioner John Koskinen. A Republican on the House Oversight committee told National Review, “We’ve briefed the leadership’s counsel, and I think that they’re open to it, but it’s the type of thing where this town is like, ‘Oh, that’s not how we do things, it’s not really been used lately.’ But, quite frankly, we really haven’t had executive branch officials behave this way like we do now.”

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