Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1147

IRS Logo 2Politico Morning Tax: What's Next For John Koskinen?, by Bernie Becker:

The good news for Republicans seeking to remove the IRS commissioner: A group of legal scholars all agreed that providing false testimony to Congress rises to the level of impeachable offense. But as our Katy O’Donnell noted, there wasn’t a groundswell of support for the case that Republicans like House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Rep. Jim Jordan were pushing — that Koskinen only needed to commit a bad act, not have bad intent, to borrow the phrasing of one of the witnesses. “The House has never impeached anyone for gross negligence or I think anything akin to it, and I think opening the door to that is going to present all sorts of serious problems,” said Michael Gerhardt, a law professor at the University of North Carolina.

In any event, the House Freedom Caucus wants a floor vote on Koskinen’s impeachment for his handling of the investigation into the IRS’s improper scrutiny of tea party groups, as The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda reports.

At the same time, Chaffetz’s measure to censure Koskinen has already passed the Oversight Committee. The last time Congress censured a sub-Cabinet official was back during the Teapot Dome scandal of the Roaring '20s, according to the Congressional Research Service. (Apparently, Teapot Dome was once a plot point on “Downton Abbey.”)

Speaking of the IRS (and the Constitution):  Those GOP efforts to strip Koskinen of his salary via the appropriations process might not be standing on the most solid constitutional footing, according to Richard Rubin of The Wall Street Journal. In fact, it could be a bill of attainder — just like the GOP efforts to take away Koskinen’s pension through the censure process. “This does sound a lot like imposing a punishment without a trial,” said Richard Briffault of Columbia Law School.

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It's fascinating how you two partners in crime happily endorse prosecuting the elected representatives of the people because you don't like Congressional oversight, an ad hominem that speaks volumes, but don't think an unelected career bureaucrat who made false statements to Congress (18 U.S. Code § 1001) and presided over the destruction of federal records (18 U.S. Code § 1519) should even have an unkind word said about him.

Truly illuminating...

Posted by: MM | Jun 30, 2016 7:48:47 PM

And he should be assessed for the imputed value of the rent for sleeping in his congressional offices.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jun 30, 2016 9:17:53 AM

Chaffetz should be prosecuted for abusing his power.

Posted by: Sterling | Jun 30, 2016 3:12:03 AM