IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has reached a deal with Republicans in the House of Representatives to avoid impeachment for obstruction of an investigation. The House Freedom Caucus, the conservative caucus that used a procedural maneuver to force a floor vote earlier this week, said the development was a victory. They argue Mr. Koskinen intentionally obstructed the probe into the targeting of tea party groups seeking tax exemptions by his agency.
“This hearing will give every American the opportunity to hear John Koskinen answer under oath why he misled Congress, allowed evidence pertinent to an investigation to be destroyed, and defied Congressional subpoenas and preservation orders,” the caucus said in a statement. “It will also remove any lingering excuses for those who have been hesitant to proceed with this course of action.”
Mr. Koskinen and his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill say he did not lie under oath and provided lawmakers all the information he had when he knew about. Nevertheless, he cut a deal that gets rid of the vote on the so-called “privileged” impeachment resolution that was set to take place Thursday. Now, the House Judiciary Committee will consider Koskinen’s impeachment, with the IRS boss expected to testify sometime next week.
While the House can impeach with only a simple majority vote on a federal official, which is the equivalent of an indictment, the U.S. Senate must hold a trial and inevitably needs a two-thirds majority to find said official guilty in order to remove him or her from office.