According to reports, House Republicans are considering impeachment proceedings against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen due to his alleged complicity in the cover-up of a years-long campaign of harassment against Tea Party and various conservative groups.
For years, the IRS targeted blossoming advocacy groups that were dedicated to grassroots conservative activism. Withholding tax-exempt status until full completion of invasive and endless investigations into the political activity of these groups, the IRS and the head of their tax-exempt department, Lois Lerner, targeted these groups in an apparent attempt to curtail their political efficacy.
For over a year, the IRS has maintained that emails, demanded by Congress, had been forever lost. Because of their unwillingness to furnish these emails that had conveniently gone missing, the IRS has been under a congressional microscope and reports are indicating that Republicans might be looking to oust Koskinen over the cover-up of the IRS scandal.
National Review first reported that Republicans are looking at the possibility. A House oversight committee aide confirmed to FoxNews.com that the panel, led by Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, indeed is “looking into it.”
“We haven’t come to any conclusions,” the source said.
Speaking with Fox News on Friday, oversight committee member Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, also appeared to acknowledge the discussions. Asked why lawmakers might consider impeachment articles, Jordan cited Koskinen’s questionable committee testimony.
“Every time Mr. Koskinen comes and testifies, we subsequently learn that something he said wasn’t quite accurate,” Jordan told Fox News.
He did not elaborate on the impeachment option. But the development comes as Republicans, including Jordan, fume over the revelation that 422 backup tapes were destroyed shortly after officials discovered emails related to the Tea Party scandal had been lost.
Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, revealed Thursday that up to 24,000 emails may never be recovered because the tapes were “magnetically erased” in March 2014. George said those tapes “likely contained” 2010 and 2011 emails to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner, a central figure in the controversy over conservative groups targeted for additional scrutiny as they sought nonprofit status.
George said his office found no direct evidence the tapes were destroyed to hide information from Congress or law enforcement. But the destruction nevertheless defied a preservation order — and Republicans complained that despite the destruction, Koskinen testified to Congress three weeks later that they would provide documents to Congress.
Three weeks before he said that … they’d already destroyed 422 tapes,” Jordan said Friday. “Those kind of actions are, I think, something that we have to look into very seriously, and that’s what the committee’s doing.”
Americans will always have an adversarial relationship with the tax-collecting agency. However, as an agency that wields tremendous power over individuals, the IRS must be trusted in order to be effective and trust in the IRS remains incredibly low not only as Americans endure the consequences of a years-long campaign to squash dissent, but also the cover-up that has followed.