The Republican-controlled House introduced a resolution on Tuesday to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for making “false statements” under oath and refusing to comply with a subpoena.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and 18 other committee members introduced the resolution–viewable below–to commence impeachment proceedings. The move makes good on a threat first made over the summer, when Republicans, including the likely incoming speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., accused the IRS leader of lying to Congress regarding the Tea Party targeting scandal and its aftermath.
“Commissioner Koskinen violated the public trust,” Chaffetz said in a statement Tuesday. “He failed to comply with a congressionally issued subpoena, documents were destroyed on his watch, and the public was consistently misled.”
The announcement of the impeachment resolution comes on the same day Koskinen testified before the Senate Finance Committee, and just days after the Obama Justice Department on Friday announced it refused to charge Lois Lerner, the former IRS officials at the center of the targeting scandal. DOJ closed its investigation of the targeting scandal without pursuing criminal charges against anyone, despite multiple retirements and resignations.
“The IRS vigorously disputes the allegations in the resolution,” the IRS said in a statement. “We have fully cooperated with all of the investigations.”
In July, Chaffetz and 51 members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama calling for the removal of Koskinen, but the White House did not respond. The Committee released a video outlining a timeline of key events in the IRS targeting scandal.
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Specifically, Commissioner Koskinen violated the public trust in the following ways:
Failed to comply with a subpoena resulting in destruction of key evidence. Commissioner Koskinen failed to locate and preserve IRS records in accordance with a congressional subpoena and an internal preservation order. The IRS erased 422 backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails – key pieces of evidence that were destroyed on Koskinen’s watch.
Failed to testify truthfully and provided false and misleading information. Commissioner Koskinen testified the IRS turned over all emails relevant to the congressional investigation, including all of Ms. Lerner’s emails. When the agency determined Ms. Lerner’s emails were missing, Commissioner Koskinen testified the emails were unrecoverable. These statements were false.
Failed to notify Congress that key evidence was missing. The IRS knew Lois Lerner’s emails were missing in February 2014. In fact, they were not missing; the IRS destroyed the emails on March 4, 2014. The IRS did not notify Congress the emails were missing until June 2014 – four months later, and well after the White House and the Treasury Department were notified.
“Impeachment is the appropriate tool to restore public confidence in the IRS and to protect the institutional interests of Congress,” Chaffetz added. “This action will demonstrate to the American people that the IRS is under repair, and signal that Executive Branch officials who violate the public trust will be held accountable.”