TaxProf Blog

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

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 906

IRS Logo 2Tax bloggers on the House Republicans' articles of impeachment against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen:

Russ Fox (Taxable Talk):

While it is theoretically possible that the IRS scandal is all due to an extraordinary amount of coincidences, it’s far more likely that one individual ordered it. ...

My view of this is simple: Mr. Koskinen has become a mouthpiece of the Administration rather than an independent head of the IRS. New leadership and a resolution of the IRS scandal is needed before the people regain full confidence in the IRS. Mr. Koskinen has failed in that task. The IRS’s budget does need to be increased, but that’s not happening until Mr. Koskinen leaves the agency (and the scandal is resolved). The Wall Street Journal’s conclusion on the impeachment mirrors my thoughts:

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.

Joe Kristan (Tax Update Blog):

A resolution has been introduced to impeach IRS Commissioner Koskinen. While his conduct in office has been awful, I hope they don’t really try to make it happen. It could backfire, and even if he were impeached, there will never be a conviction. I would rather they spend the time and energy reducing the powers of all IRS commissioners by reducing the power of the IRS through tax reform.

Peter Reilly (Forbes):

Unless, like a sensible person, you have been shielding yourself from learning about developments in the interminable, never-ending IRS scandal, now on Day 902 by Tax Prof count, you are aware that impeachment articles against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen have been drawn up. ...

Mr. Koskinen came into the IRS after what I call the “core scandal”, delays and intrusive inquiries on tax-exempt application by Tea Party and similar groups. His “high crimes and misdemeanors” relate to IRS response to the investigation by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives.  IRS employees in Martinsburg, West Virginia erased 422 backup tapes destroying as many as 24,000 Lois Lerner e-mails.  A couple of months later Mr. Koskinen testified that nothing had been destroyed.  He also testified that backup tapes from 2011 had been recycled.  Previously he had promised to provide all the Lois Lerner e-mails. He was slow in informing the Committee that there were problems with crashed hard drives and backup tapes.  Subsequently TIGTA investigators found more than 1,000 Lois Lerner e-mails that the IRS had missed in all its rooting around. ...

At any rate, I tend to think that the Koskinen impeachment might not play out that well for Republicans.  I could see Koskinen turning the tables on them in his defense in the Senate and making a case that Issa’s committee never was interested in finding out what actually happened, but was mainly looking for stupid remarks by Lois Lerner that could be played up by Fox News. ...

You will be able to find links to a wealth of commentary on the Tax Prof Blog – The IRS Scandal Day 902. If you have been following this you will probably not be surprised to learn that Elijah Cummings does not think the impeachment proposal is such a good idea. “Calling this resolution a stunt or a joke would be insulting to stunts and jokes."

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/11/the-irs-scandal-day-906.html

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Comments

Triple the budget of the Treasury's Inspector General with specific designations of the additional funding to identify IRS abuses and those responsible.

Posted by: Woody | Nov 1, 2015 9:01:05 AM

Of course, Elijah Cummings was implicated in the original targeting, so there's a serious conflict of interest for him in investigating the IRS. He's been a dragging anchor on the investigation from the beginning.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Nov 2, 2015 5:13:38 AM