Political Editors / June 16, 2016

House Oversight Committee Censures IRS Chief

Next up, if Senate Republicans have the stomach, impeachment.

Although they face a path fraught with political obstacles, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed a resolution 23-15 to censure IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The Resolution,” a press release from the committee reads, “expresses the sense of the House that Mr. Koskinen engaged in a pattern of conduct inconsistent with the trust and confidence placed in him as an Officer of the United States, urges Mr. Koskinen’s resignation or removal, and requires forfeiture of his government pension and any other federal benefits for which he is eligible.” The party-line vote is the next step in the process to impeach the IRS head. Koskinen told lawmakers in 2014 that emails belonging to an IRS manager spearheading the targeting of conservative groups ahead of the 2012 election were unrecoverable. Lawmakers didn’t believe him. Then the emails turned up months later. “Trust is the most important asset the IRS has,” said Koskinen at his Senate confirmation hearing in 2013. Since then, he has worked diligently to destroy whatever trust remained there.

Not only are Democrats resisting the effort of the committee, some Republicans in the Senate are skeptical of the effort, and too few will support impeachment. But as National Review points out, the impeachment effort is not a political tit-for-tat. “The IRS’s strategy was the stuff of banana republics: Organizations that were critical of the president’s signature health-care law were to be targeted, as were those making statements critical of the general direction of government under the Obama administration. … A weaponized IRS put to partisan political ends constitutes an unbearable assault on American democracy and undermines the very institutions of government itself. It cannot be allowed to go unanswered.”


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