GOP Congressmen to Obama: Remove IRS Head Koskinen or We Will Impeach

John Koskinen
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen / AP
July 28, 2015

Two Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are calling on President Obama to fire Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, threatening to impeach the IRS head if the commander in chief does not remove Koskinen himself.

Reps. Ron Desantis (R., Fla.) and Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) voiced their demand in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Monday just as the House committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) authored a letter to Obama asking him to do the same by "work[ing] hand-in-hand with Congress to fix the problem."

Desantis and Jordan wrote in the op-ed:

Commissioner Koskinen ... has failed the American people by frustrating Congress’s attempts to ascertain the truth. A taxpayer would never get away with treating an IRS audit the way that IRS officials have treated the congressional investigation. Civil officers like Mr. Koskinen have historically been held to a higher standard than private citizens because they have fiduciary obligations to the public.

They listed the ways in which Koskinen, who took over the IRS after the agency was discovered in 2013 to have targeted conservative groups, has breached his "basic fiduciary duties" in the wake of the scandal.

For instance, they explained, Koskinen’s IRS erased backup tapes archiving tens of thousands of emails--some of which belonged to ex-official Lois Lerner--despite a preservation order sent to employees, after which Koskinen did not inform Congress for four months of the resulting "gap" in Lerner’s email communications despite testifying before the committee under oath.

Desantis and Jordan also knocked Koskinen for providing "categorically false" congressional testimony, failing to amend false statements, and refusing to institute controls within the IRS to ensure that non-profit groups are not targeted in the future.

"The targeting of conservative groups may very well continue," they declared, concluding that if Obama does not take their warning and remove Koskinen, Congress should do so through impeachment.

Earlier this month, Jordan told the Washington Free Beacon in an interview that the committee was "definitely" exploring the avenue through which to impeach Koskinen.

"When you have an individual who’s head of an agency with this kind of power the Internal Revenue Service has, who has stated things under oath that turned out later to be false, that’s a problem," he said.

"Couple that with the false information that was sent out to a lot of Obamacare enrollees that impacted their tax liability that was just false, and some of the data breaches that have taken place there too—so the main focus is, of course, the targeting scandal and his answers to questions in front of the committee under oath that I’ve said later turned out to be untrue."