TaxProf Blog

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

Friday, September 9, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1219

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal, House Republicans Weigh Impeaching IRS Commissioner John Koskinen:

House Republicans have no affection for the Internal Revenue Service after three years of mounting frustration about what they see as the tax agency’s slow and incomplete responses to congressional investigations. But many are shying away from the aggressive step urged by some hard-liners: impeaching IRS Commissioner John Koskinen now.

Lawmakers are debating how far to go as they weigh the political risks of irritating some of their most ardent supporters with any vote that even resembles letting Mr. Koskinen off the hook. What is giving them pause about impeachment are conservatives’ push to bypass the Judiciary Committee and the slim chances of removing Mr. Koskinen from office. That would require Senate Republicans to overcome their reluctance and also attract more than 20 Democratic votes—the number needed to get the necessary two-thirds majority in the Senate—making it a clear dead end.

House Republicans’ internal standoff shows the limits of raw politics in the general-election season after years of conservatives rallying against the IRS, a movement that has helped to restrict the agency’s budget and inspired calls from the right to eliminate the IRS entirely. ...

Impeachment backers plan to use a procedural tactic to force a vote on the House floor as soon as next week, and House Republicans will meet behind closed doors beforehand in an effort to hash out the internal disagreement. ...

The bill of particulars against Mr. Koskinen stems from his response to congressional investigations. Under his watch, the agency destroyed backup data that included emails belonging to Lois Lerner, who had led the office that oversaw nonprofit groups. The impeachment resolution says Mr. Koskinen “failed to act with competence and forthrightness” in disclosing the destruction and that the agency didn’t try hard enough to preserve all documents.

Mr. Koskinen has said the destruction was unintentional and that he waited to inform Congress until he had complete information.

Republicans say Mr. Koskinen’s actions prevented them from uncovering the truth about what happened to tea-party groups and why.

Democrats say there is no evidence the agency’s actions were politically motivated. Instead, they say it is clear the IRS was trying—clumsily and slowly—to come up with a rule for judging whether tax-exempt groups met the tax code’s rules that limit political involvement of nonprofits.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/09/the-irs-scandal-day-1219.html

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Comments

"Lawmakers are debating how far to go as they weigh the political risks of irritating some of their most ardent supporters with any vote that even resembles letting Mr. Koskinen off the hook. What is giving them pause about impeachment are conservatives’ push to bypass the Judiciary Committee and the slim chances of removing Mr. Koskinen from office." Notably missing from the Republicans' discussion: 1) What is good for the country, and 2) what is the right thing to do. What was that catchy slogan John McCain had? Something like "Country First." Oh yeah, that one.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Sep 9, 2016 6:30:53 AM

what they see as the tax agency’s slow and incomplete responses to congressional investigations

That is the only way to see it.

Publius wants to put country first and do the right thing. That means impeaching Koskinen and holding Obama's IRS accountable. When our system of government, and it populace, has been abused they way it has under Obama and his IRS, corrective action is imperative for the health of the nation.

The real question here is why are so many Democrats obstructing justice, subverting the rule of law, and acting like an organized crime gang.

Posted by: wodun | Sep 9, 2016 4:46:19 PM

"What is good for the country."

I think any open-minded person following the IRS' pattern of behavior over the past 3+ years can differentiate between the citizenry of the United States who have little to no power over the federal bureaucracy vs. the unelected laywers at the helm of the federal bureaucracy, who wield tremendous power over the citzenry and apparently face no legal or disciplinary consequences for obvious acts of wrongdoing, stonewalling investigations, making false statements, destroying subpoenaed evidence, violating confidentiality law, violating federal records law, etc.

I could keep going...

Posted by: MM | Sep 9, 2016 6:50:57 PM

I'm sure both Messrs. wodun and MM can in fact keep going . . . going, going, going, further and deeper into the right-wing fact-free world of conspiracies. Going, going, going . . . .

Posted by: Publius Novus | Sep 12, 2016 9:32:00 AM

Pubs,

You've admitted the Federal Records Act was violated, in other discussion. I can provide sources for all the facts I laid out, which is a step up from you, since you never cite anything, statute or otherwise.

Shall I do so? I can easily so.

But would you respond, specifically? You seem to have a problem doing so, again in other discussion.

So why should I waste my time with someone who's reflexively lazy, not to mention a hack for the political party that's in power?

Posted by: MM | Sep 12, 2016 6:59:10 PM