TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 902

House Resolution, Impeaching John Andrew Koskinen, Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, for high crimes and misdemeanors:

Resolved, That John Andrew Koskinen, Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the Senate:  

Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of  Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, against John Andrew Koskinen, Commissioner  of the Internal Revenue Service, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Article I:  John Andrew Koskinen, in his conduct while Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, engaged in a pattern of conduct that is incompatible with his duties as an Officer of the United States. ...

Article II:  John Andrew Koskinen engaged in a pattern of deception that demonstrates his unfitness to serve as Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Commissioner.  Koskinen made a series of false and misleading statements to Congress in contravention of his oath to tell the truth. ...

Article III:  John Andrew Koskinen, throughout his tenure as Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, has acted in a manner inconsistent with the trust and confidence placed in him as an Officer of the United States. ...

Article IV:  John Andrew Koskinen has failed to act with competence and forthrightness in overseeing the investigation into Internal Revenue Service targeting of Americans because of their political affiliations. ...

Wall Street Journal editorial, Impeaching the IRS Director: The House Acts to Remove John Koskinen for Breach of Trust:

The IRS targeting and muzzling of conservative groups during the 2012 presidential campaign is an outrage for which almost no one has been held accountable. Which brings us to the news that House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz introduced articles of impeachment on Tuesday against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. ...

The last impeachment of a cabinet officer or agency head was War Secretary William Belknap in 1876. Then again, no Presidency in decades has treated Congress with the disdain that President Obama has. With rare exceptions he has also refused to dismiss officials when they fail at their most basic obligations. If the House votes to impeach Mr. Koskinen, the Senate then would need a two-thirds vote to convict in a trial, which is unlikely.

Yet the exercise will have the salutary effect of reminding executive-branch officials that they are not a government unto themselves. The U.S. Attorney has refused to honor Congress’s contempt charge against Ms. Lerner for refusing to testify, the Justice Department has closed its investigations into IRS targeting without prosecutions, and the press corps winks at abuses of power when conservatives are the targets. With an executive who refuses to honor the normal separation of powers, Congress is obliged to use its authority to hold government accountable.

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