Paul L. Caron

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1141

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal, House Republicans Seek to Eliminate IRS Chief’s Paycheck:

Republicans have a new idea for attacking IRS Commissioner John Koskinen: Stop paying him.

Mr. Koskinen’s salary of about $165,000 a year would be cut to zero until the next president takes office Jan. 20, under an amendment the House of Representatives is considering this week. ...

The idea is to prevent Mr. Koskinen from coming to work, as federal law generally bars people from working for free, said Kyle Huwa, a spokesman for Mr. Buck. ...

[L]osing a few months of pay near the end of his career wouldn’t permanently damage Mr. Koskinen. According to his most recent financial disclosure, he is a multimillionaire.

Bloomberg, Push to Impeach IRS Chief Koskinen Stirs Scholars’ Disagreement:

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John A. Koskinen committed an impeachable offense by giving false testimony to Congress about his agency’s preservation of e-mails, a conservative lawyer told the House Judiciary Committee.

Nonetheless, it would be “a mistake” for House Republicans to move forward with a drive to impeach Koskinen unless the Senate is also on board, said Andrew McCarthy, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York who has written extensively on impeachment. Although the judiciary panel has conducted two hearings related to a possible impeachment of Koskinen, neither House nor Senate leaders have said they support it.

If it succeeded, it would be the first impeachment of an appointed executive-branch official in 140 years.

Koskinen, who took office in December 2013, was almost immediately mired in the agency’s response to a scandal that predated his tenure; IRS officials acknowledged that they had given extra scrutiny to conservative groups that sought tax-exempt status beginning in 2010. He didn’t attend Wednesday’s hearing, but he has said the allegations against him -- that he misled Congress and failed to ensure that the agency preserved all relevant e-mails -- are meritless.

“Every time I testified, I testified truthfully on what I knew,” Koskinen told reporters last month.

During the hearing, which was marked by partisan exchanges from both Republicans and Democrats, legal scholars disagreed on whether Koskinen’s conduct would constitute grounds for impeachment under constitutional language that specifies “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

“In my opinion, I think gross negligence doesn’t qualify,” said Michael Gerhardt, a professor of constitutional law at the University of North Carolina Law School. In his view, impeachable conduct would have to involve “bad intent,” he said.

Yet other witnesses, including Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said the standard is broader. “It doesn’t have to be an indictable offense,” he said. The constitution’s framers also discussed citing “maladministration” as grounds for impeachment, he said. “This is a standard that has room at the elbows,” he said.

Despite pending congressional subpoenas for “all communications sent or received by Lois Lerner,” in March 2014, IRS employees in West Virginia magnetically erased 422 backup tapes, which eliminated as many as 24,000 of her e-mails. Subsequent investigations by the Justice Department and the Treasury Department’s inspector general found that the destruction was accidental.

IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink


Oh, and here's the cherry on top, Publius and Sterling. I wonder if your alleged outrage over wasting millions of taxpayer dollars extend to the IRS itself?

This at the same time its budget was dropping and it was targeting conservative groups. Irony of ironies... go ahead guys, let the apologia continue!

Posted by: MM | Jun 24, 2016 8:41:17 PM

witch hunt (noun): an intensive effort to discover and expose disloyalty, subversion, dishonesty, or the like, usually based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence.

Hmmm, let’s see:

Aug. 2013: House Oversight Committee formally requested copies of all of Lois Lerner’s emails from 2009 onward. Koskinen also nominated by the President to head IRS.
Feb. 2014: House Oversight Committee threatened to subpoena IRS for failure to comply fully with previous Aug. 2013 request.
Mar. 2014: In testimony before House Oversight Committee, Koskinen promised to turn over all of Lerner’s emails to investigators that all of Lerner’s emails would be turned over. He also stated that there was no “targeting” of conservative non-profit groups, but that “inappropriate criteria” were used. The Washington Post subsequently rated his testimony “3 Pinocchios” (significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions) based on findings of the May 2013 Treasury IG’s report.
Apr. 2014: Koskinen learned that 30,000 of Lerner’s emails under subpoena had been lost in a computer crash 2 years earlier. The hard drive containing the emails was subsequently disposed of, which a U.S. archivist later testified was a violation of the Federal Records Act. Koskinen did not inform Congressional investigators of these developments for another 3 months.
Jun. 2014: Koskinen notified Congressional investigators of the loss and destruction of subpoenaed emails from 2009 to 2011. He also testified before Congress that Lerner had followed all requirements of the Federal Records Act, which Lerner’s personal lawyer later contradicted.
Jun. 2014: IRS admitted to “wrongdoing” in leaking tax returns of conservative activists 2 years earlier and agreed to pay $50,000 in damages.
Jun. 2014: Washington Free Beacon reported that Koskinen had donated approximately $100,000 to various Democratic candidates between 1979 and 2012, including President Obama’s reelection campaign.
Sep. 2014: IRS reported that it lost additional emails of 5 workers under Congressional investigation, blaming computer crashes. These workers included 2 people based in Cincinnati who worked on conservative non-profit applications. Crashes occurred between 2009 and Feb. 2014.
Apr. 2015: Treasury IG was able to recover thousands of Lois Lerner emails thought to have been lost and never turned over to Congress as requested.
May 2015: Treasury IG report found that the IRS failed to implement website security upgrades as previously recommended before hackers were able to steal personal information on over 100,000 taxpayers in a cyberattack.
Jul. 2015: Government Accountability Office report found that the IRS auditing process continued to lack transparency, had shoddy recordkeeping, and could still be auditing conservative non-profit groups using biased procedures, even after approval of tax-exempt status.
Jul. 2015: Judge Emmet Sullivan threatened to hold Koskinen in contempt of court for failing to comply with his order to release documents related to Lois Lerner as part of Judicial Watch’s FOIA lawsuit against the IRS.

Yeah, Publius, Sterling, these bureaucrats are as pure as the driven snow. By all means, please explain away that timeline of misdeeds.

The money issue is a complete red herring, and an ironic one, considering that it's standard procedure for bureaucrats under investigation to delay and stonewall, which extends the length and cost of the investigation.

The President could've avoided all this by firing this Koskinen character last year and replace him with someone halfway competent. Appointment of a Special Prosecutor would've helped, too. The IRS has little to no public confidence anymore.

Posted by: MM | Jun 24, 2016 8:37:40 PM

Yes, Mr. Spradling, the one against taxpayers. The one that is wasting millions of taxpayer dollars pursuing a political witch hunt. Any more "questions?"

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jun 24, 2016 7:22:03 PM

Which one? The one against taxpayers?

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Jun 24, 2016 6:49:48 AM

This witch hunt is a huge waste of public resources.

Posted by: Sterling | Jun 24, 2016 2:19:47 AM