Freedom Caucus Moves to Force Vote on Impeaching IRS Chief

Koskinen and his legal team dismiss charges as 'meritless'

Louisiana Rep. John Fleming said IRS commissioner John Koskinen's statements and actions in the face of the congressional inquiry "warrant impeachment, trial and removal from office." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. John Fleming of the House Freedom Caucus, as expected, took a procedural step Tuesday to force a vote on whether to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

The Louisiana Republican stood on the floor with Kansas GOP Rep. Tim Huelskamp at his side and read the impeachment resolution. The resolution was introduced under a privileged motion, meaning it bypasses committee and requires a floor vote.

The House now has two legislative days to consider the issue, with the vote expected Thursday. House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington said the conference would meet Thursday morning to discuss the resolution.

Fleming said Koskinen had made a "series of false and misleading statements" to House investigators and failed to fully cooperate with their requests for emails and other information related to a probe of the IRS' handling of applications from conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

[IRS Impeachment Debate Latest Example of House GOP Infighting]

Fleming, who is running for the Senate, said Koskinen's statements and actions "warrant impeachment, trial and removal from office."

Koskinen and his legal team have said the charges are "meritless" and contend House conservatives are denying him his due process rights. They say the matter should be considered by the House Judiciary Committee, which has held two hearings but Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia has not scheduled a vote.

Even if the impeachment resolution advances in the House, there is little chance it will attract two-thirds support in the Senate. Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, the Senate Finance Committee chairman, has said "it doesn't have a chance over here."

House Democrats will unanimously oppose the resolution to impeach Koskinen, Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer told reporters Tuesday.

“Every Democrat is going to vote against that,” the Maryland Democrat said. “It is absolutely unjustified on the facts. It is unjustified by any kind of due process. It is unjustified in terms of personnel policy.”

[Hoyer: House Democrats Want Omnibus After Short-Term CR]

Many Republicans also feel that impeachment is unjustified, he said. “In my opinion, the majority of Republicans think this is a wrong step to be suggesting,” Hoyer said, noting that he’s talked to lawmakers who feel this way.

Asked if Democrats would help those hesitant Republicans by offering a motion to table the resolution, Hoyer said, “We’ll see … I don’t know what they’re going to do yet, so I don’t have a strategy. I have a number of different alternative strategies in my mind."

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.

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