House Republicans called on President Barack Obama to remove Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, accusing him of repeatedly misleading Congress and obstructing the investigation of the tax collecting agency’s targeting of conservative groups, and vowed to impeach the IRS chief if necessary.
“Mr. Koskinen should no longer be the IRS Commissioner. We have asked the President to remove Mr. Koskinen from office,” said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) in a press conference Monday evening.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 23, 2014, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs hearing on the IRS' response to the targeting of conservative organizations. (AP Photo) AP Photo
“Mr. Koskinen failed in his duty to preserve and produce documentation to this Committee,” he added. “The IRS failed to comply with a congressional subpoena. The IRS further failed by making false statements to Congress. We will pursue all constitutional remedies at our disposal, including potential contempt proceedings or perhaps impeachment of Commissioner Koskinen.”
The Republican members signed a letter to Obama asking for the removal. The White House did not immediately respond to request for comment by TheBlaze.
The lawmakers say that Koskinen, who came on board after the IRS targeting scandal broke in 2013, repeatedly told the committee it would provide all of the emails of Lois Lerner, the former head of the IRS exempt organization unit who invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination in front of the committee.
About 24,000 of Lerner’s emails were destroyed, according to an investigation by the office of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found in an investigation. Introducing a timeline, the Republicans argued there is no way Koskinen believed he could provide all of the emails.
“Mr. Koskinen misled Congress and the American people when he appeared before the Oversight Committee in 2014 and asserted he would produce all of Ms. Lerner’s emails,” Chaffetz said. “At the time of his testimony, the agency was already aware that gaps existed in Ms. Lerner’s email production due to a hard drive crash. Mr. Koskinen did not make Congress aware of this problem nor did he take sufficient efforts to recover the missing emails. TIGTA’s report confirmed that the IRS failed to even look for the back-up tapes and neglected to look at five of the six sources where emails could have existed.”
Fellow Republican members of the committee joined Chaffetz. He said he informed ranking Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland that the committee Republicans would be making an announcement based on the inspector general findings.
Rep. Scott Desjarlaise (R-Tenn.) said the IRS scandal, “surpasses Watergate.”