TaxProf Blog

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

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The IRS Scandal, Day 1360: VP Pence, GOP House And Senate Push Trump To Fire Koskinen

IRS Logo 2Newsmax, Pence Will Urge Trump to Sack IRS Boss:

Responding to the urging of House Republicans, Vice President Mike Pence will soon call on President Trump to fire or force the resignation of controversial Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen. Newsmax learned this Thursday afternoon from several lawmakers at the House Republican Retreat in Philadelphia. ...

Emerging from a closed-door meeting with the vice president Thursday morning at the House Republican Retreat in Philadelphia, Rep,. Chris Collins (R.-N.Y.) confirmed that the subject of sacking Koskinen was raised. "[Pence] said 'I can hear you,'" said Collins, who said the vice president "promised us" he would share with President Trump the strong belief of Republicans in Congress that "Koskinen must go."

Washington Examiner, Led by Republican Study Committee, 50 House GOPers Tell Trump to Fire IRS Chief:

A faction of conservatives is circumventing leadership brass and calling directly on President Trump to tell IRS Chief John Koskinen, "You're fired."

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., will make the ask. The chairman of the Republican Study Committee has quietly but urgently been circulating a letter inside the GOP conference to build support. He's now got 50 congressmen signed onto the letter. 

The Hill, McConnell: Trump Should Replace IRS Commissioner:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says President Trump should replace John Koskinen, the IRS commissioner who faced an impeachment vote in the House last year. “I think he’s been a disaster and I’d be shocked if we don’t have a new one,” McConnell told The Hill on Friday. ...

The Trump transition team said in December that the then-president-elect had not yet made a decision on whether to replace Koskinen immediately or allow him to serve out the remaining year of his term.

Politico, GOP Airs Old Grievances in Private Pence Meeting:

Congressional Republicans used a private audience with Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday to rehash years-old political controversies — even suggesting Pence fire the IRS commissioner, according to sources in the room.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2017/01/the-irs-scandal-day-1360-vp-pence-gop-house-and-senate-to-push-trump-to-fire-irs-commissioner-koskin.html

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Comments

Why hasn't Trump fired him already. I remember a horde of trumpies commenting that congressional repubs are total wimps for not impeaching Kesigen 3 weeks before Trump was inaugurated (when the hearings would have taken months). Trump can fire him with a phone call, and he wont even do that much??

Posted by: richard40 | Jan 28, 2017 8:28:03 AM

Koskinen may resign, be fired, or serve out his term. In any event, Trump will have the opportunity to appoint a new Commissioner no later than November. So we will have a president--allegedly under a continuous audit--appointing the Commissioner who will oversee the audit. No conflict of interest there. BTW, since the Chief Counsel has already departed, Trump now has the occasion to appoint the agency's top lawyer. No conflict there either. I can hardly wait to have the right-wing apologists explain to us why there is nothing wrong with this.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jan 28, 2017 8:34:23 AM

He should have been fired on Trump's first day in office. We now need a special prosecutor dedicated to the looking into the Democrats' weaponization of the IRS.

Posted by: VoteOutIncumbents | Jan 28, 2017 9:12:30 AM

He should be worse than fired. Obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. Lie, lie, lie. Obfuscate, obfuscate, obfuscate. I'm surprised he wasn't Hillary's VP pick.

Posted by: Anon | Jan 28, 2017 1:20:17 PM

The more important job may be that of Chief Counsel for the IRS. From 2009 to 2016 we had William Wilkins, whose previous job was lobbying for clients that included, amazingly, the Swiss Bankers Association. Wilkins has now resigned. I hope Trump doesn't replace him with another lobbyist for massive tax cheats.

http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/irs-names-acting-chief-counsel-following-william-wilkins-departure

https://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=getFilingDetails&filingID=13ba45f1-baa9-4515-a5ad-2ebdeb07f0bc

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Jan 28, 2017 2:17:47 PM

Come on PN. If you work for the feds, you know the IRS audits top government officials, including the President, every year. Granted, I did my time back in the '70s, but what I saw personally was the highest in professionalism. Auditing the high and mighty is old news for the IRS.

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Jan 29, 2017 7:12:14 AM

"I can hardly wait to have the right-wing apologists explain to us why there is nothing wrong with this."

Well, since left-wing apologists, including some royal hypocrites on this very blog, have gone out of their way explaining why the DOJ and IRS did abosultely nothing wrong for the past 7 years, why complain about consistency now?

Posted by: MM | Jan 29, 2017 10:15:41 AM

Mr. Spradling: You are quite correct about the professionalism of IRS auditors. Nevertheless, only the president appoints the Commissioner and the Chief Counsel.

Mr. MM: Still waiting.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jan 29, 2017 5:34:25 PM

"Still waiting."

Not my job to supply excuses for conflicts of interest, for either party.

It's just interesting to observe that someone who for years gave the benefit of the doubt to the federal government despite evidence of malfeasance and wrongdoing, suddenly becomes concerned with transparency and conflicts of interest. I suspect it has everything to do with an election and nothing to do with principle...

Posted by: MM | Jan 29, 2017 10:54:56 PM

Mr. MM: Still waiting.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jan 31, 2017 6:29:39 AM

I'll note that Mr. Publius never expressed any concerns about the following behavior of the IRS, when they were revealed to the public:

- Targeting of tax-exempt applicants due to their names and political positions
- Illegal disclosure of tax return information to the DOJ
- False statements to Congressional investigators
- Destruction of subpoenaed documents after they were subpoenaed
- Conflicts of interest regarding Lerner, Koskinen vis-a-vis the Obama reelection campaign
- Collusion between the IRS and Representative Cummings' office, who also circumvented the Congressional investigation while sitting on the oversign committee

I'll call out President Trump if and when he actually takes actions that create a conflict on interest regarding the IRS and his tax return status.

But I won't be waiting for Mr. Publius to show a shred of principled consistency on the issue of government accountability, for as this exchange illustrates, he has none.

Posted by: MM | Feb 1, 2017 7:56:03 AM

Get John Koskin out of there yesterday even.

Posted by: Christine Booker | Feb 22, 2017 7:48:21 AM