TaxProf Blog

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

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 927

IRS Logo 2The Blaze, Legal Experts: ‘Utterly Irresponsible’ Not to Conduct IRS Impeachment Probe:

While bringing impeachment charges against Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen could seem an audacious move, some constitutional law experts believe it’s the only responsible step for members of Congress to take.

“Impeachment is a remedy to deal with grave offense in the abuse of office — whether or not someone committed private wrongs that warrant being put in jail,” Andrew McCarthy, former chief assistant U.S. attorney in New York, told TheBlaze. “If there have been abuses of power committed by public officials, it would be irresponsible to leave them there.” ...

“Impeachment is one of the few checks the legislature has on executive power. High crimes and misdemeanors don’t have to be felonies,” John Eastman, a law professor and director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence at Chapman University. “When a public official won’t comply with the law, it is the only option left. If Congress doesn’t conduct proper oversight, they are part of the problem.” ...

Though Koskinen was not involved in the targeting scandal itself, his actions likely prevented the truth from surfacing, said David Rivkin, who formerly served as a deputy director in the Reagan Justice Department and as a legal adviser in White House Counsel’s office

“He didn’t cause this, but just as prosecutors bring a case to send a message, this could be done to make a point,” Rivkin, now a partner at the Washington law firm Baker Hostetler LLP., told TheBlaze. “There is a broader narrative in the context of how this administration has violated separation of powers.”

Rivkin said that the purpose of impeachment is not to punish — or even fire — a public official. Rather, it’s to protect the public trust. “If Congress does nothing, it is de facto approval,” Rivkin said. “It would be utterly iresponsible and utterly dangerous to civil liberties and the balance of powers for the House to do nothing.”

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Comments

Since Obama's DOJ wont hold Obama's IRS accountable, impeachment is one of the few actions that can be taken. Our country relies on an ethical populace to staff our government. Laws are not all encompassing. It is up to people with ethics to show personal restraint rather than abuse our system. The Obama administration cares not for laws or ethics and sets dangerous precedents for future Presidents.

Posted by: wodun | Nov 22, 2015 2:06:49 PM

Given Messrs. McCarthy's, Eastman's, and Rivkin's firm and authoritative views on impeachment, I assume they strongly supported impeachment of President Reagan for his Iran-Contra misdeeds.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Nov 22, 2015 5:40:39 PM

Publius, how about staying on point!

Posted by: Elmer Stoup | Nov 22, 2015 7:03:01 PM

Elmer, Publius is on point. This is a partisan witch hunt. There is simply no proof that anybody did anything wrong.

Posted by: gator | Nov 23, 2015 7:40:49 AM

Mr. Stroup: Impeachment by omission is always on point.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Nov 23, 2015 8:04:56 AM