TaxProf Blog

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

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1332:  The House GOP's Ridiculous Impeachment Crusade

IRS Logo 2MSNBC The MaddowBlog, Congress Holds IRS Impeachment Vote as Trump Eyes New Commissioner:

The 114th Congress is, mercifully, nearly over, but as we saw yesterday, lawmakers aren’t quite done considering ridiculous ideas. The Wall Street Journal reported:

The House of Representatives turned aside an attempt by conservative hard-liners to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for his handling of congressional investigations into the tax agency.

Instead, in a 342-72 vote, the House sent the issue back to the Judiciary Committee, which hasn’t held a formal impeachment hearing or voted on the matter.

The vote effectively ends the impeachment crusade, at least for a while. The House’s GOP majority could start the process anew next year, but there wouldn’t be any point. The fact that this even reached the House floor yesterday is something of an embarrassment. Circling back to our previous coverage, the IRS “scandal” was discredited years ago — Koskinen wasn’t even at the tax agency when the imaginary controversy unfolded — and as Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) documented in May, charges that Koskinen was part of some kind of after-the-fact cover-up don’t make any sense.

Koskinen took on the job of improving the IRS out of a sense of duty — the president asked this veteran public official to tackle a thankless task, and Koskinen reluctantly agreed. For his trouble, a sizable group of far-right House Republicans have tried to impeach him, for reasons even they have struggled to explain.

Of course, whether or not Congress approves, Koskinen won’t lead the IRS much longer. As the Journal’s article added, Koskinen, who’s now 77, “serves a fixed term that ends in November 2017. [Donald Trump] could force him out or could wait until the end of Mr. Koskinen’s term and appoint his successor, who must be confirmed by the Senate.”

And that raises some interesting possibilities. Politico reported a couple of weeks ago that Trump will be in a position to nominate Koskinen’s successor, and there’s nothing to stop the Republican president “from appointing an IRS chief who will go easy on him.” ...

Trump may soon name the head of an agency that’s examining whether Trump broke the law. What could possibly go wrong?

Postscript: One more relevant tidbit from the Politico piece: “The IRS also reviews the president’s and vice president’s returns each year, but those audits aren’t required by law, and Trump could stop them.”

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/12/the-irs-scandal-day-1332the-house-gops-ridiculous-impeachment-crusade.html

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Comments

John Koskinen deserved to be impeached. The fact that Republicans couldn't get it done shows their lack of governing ability and shouldn't be used as an indication that Koskinen did a good job.

Posted by: bflat879 | Dec 31, 2016 10:38:29 AM

Good to see Ms. Maddow still conflates opinion with fact and calls that journalism.

"Trump may soon name the head of an agency that’s examining whether Trump broke the law. What could possibly go wrong?"

The same thing that went wrong the last 8 years: A DOJ full of appointees that will not seriously investigate any wrongdoing in the Executive branch, including the DOJ itself.

Posted by: MM | Dec 31, 2016 6:04:40 PM