Paul L. Caron

Monday, August 10, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 823

IRS Logo 2Forbes:  The Republicans Might Be Right About IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, by Jeremy Scott:

On July 27, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz said President Obama should remove IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, and he made it clear that if the president doesn’t act, Congress could consider contempt charges and even impeachment. On the one hand, Chaffetz’s threats seem like just the latest escalation in a long conflict between congressional Republicans, the IRS, and the White House. But the reality is that Koskinen has so lost the confidence of the lawmakers in charge of his budget and oversight that it might be time for yet another change of leadership at the agency.

The call for Koskinen’s removal comes on the heels of a revelation that the IRS destroyed 422 backup tapes containing 24,000 e-mails from former IRS exempt organizations director Lois Lerner three weeks before Koskinen testified before Congress and promised to deliver all of Lerner’s e-mails to investigators. ... Koskinen probably didn’t know about the destruction of the tapes before he testified to Congress. But the loss of the tapes is the latest in a pattern of questionable IRS practices throughout this entire process. It disturbingly mirrors IRS officials’ testimony before Congress after the 2010 elections, assuring lawmakers that conservative groups were not being targeted when in fact the IRS admitted in 2013 that they were. It was also not clear in 2010 who knew what and when, but it was fairly clear that the testimony given to lawmakers didn’t accurately describe what was going on at the Service. Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller was asked to resign by Obama after the scandal became known. Was Miller really more responsible for the initial targeting than Koskinen has been for the IRS’s handling of the crisis since December 2013?

Engaging with House Republicans can be tough. They are out to score political points and have been determined to derail the Obama administration since they retook the chamber in 2010. But it’s the IRS commissioner’s job to deal with lawmakers, and Koskinen was supposed to improve the agency’s disjointed response to the EO scandal. Instead, he has doubled down on its stonewalling. He has been unresponsive, evasive, and even combative at hearings. House Ways and Means Chair Paul Ryan, hardly a conservative hothead, has flat-out accused the commissioner of lying. The commissioner’s relationship with the majority party has steadily worsened since he took office.

The IRS needs a leader who can restore its morale, fix the management mess that led to the EO scandal in the first place, and convince Congress that the agency needs and can be trusted with a bigger budget. Even if you think Koskinen can succeed at the first two (and that’s far from clear), there is no way he can accomplish the last. And the IRS can’t settle for two out of three right now. That’s why Koskinen is no longer the right leader for the IRS. Obama should do the same thing to Koskinen that he did to Miller, and he should prioritize working with Republicans to make sure they support his pick for the next commissioner.

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When Democrats are in power its their way or IRS audits for their enemies and when Republicans are in power its compromise. We haven't forgot the years 2000-2008. Democrats are not a party of compromise nor civility.

If you want Republicans to work with you, stop persecuting us with the IRS and other government agencies, stop scapegoating us for the slavery and racism of the Democrat party, stop the racist rhetoric coming from Democrat politicians and militant activists, stop saying we are the Taliban or Iranian theocrats, just stop the dehumanizing politics, and treat us better than Obama treats the countries we are at war with.

Its simple but it requires a zebra to change its stripes.

Posted by: wodun | Aug 10, 2015 9:05:00 AM

I would be inclined to agree with the editorialist, except for two things. First, the editorial assumes that the congressional Republicans can and will work with the Obama Administration to find a mutually acceptable candidate for Commissioner. Given the track record of 100% obstructionism of the GOP since Jan. 20, 2009, that assumption is a bridge too far. Even if a substantial number of red senators and reps are willing to work toward such resolution in good faith–possible but not likely–the willing do not and cannot control the Tea Party caucus and their fellow travelers, who will not cooperate under any circumstances. Second, who in their right mind would accept an appointment as Commissioner of Internal Revenue? Now or in the future? The job doesn’t pay much and is a certain career-ender.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Aug 10, 2015 8:06:38 AM