Policy

IRS Commissioner Won't Testify at Impeachment Hearing

House Judiciary Committee will examine alleged "misconduct" over IRS political targeting scandal

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, left, is under fire for the IRS targeting of conservative political groups seeking tax-exempt status. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen on Monday spurned an invitation to testify at a House hearing that will consider his impeachment.

The Judiciary Committee proceeding on Tuesday will examine allegations that Koskinen made false statements and failed to fully cooperate with an Oversight and Government Reform Committee probe of IRS political targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah led 19 Republican members in filing a resolution to impeach Koskinen and the GOP-led Judiciary Committee has begun to review the matter.

The IRS has said it disputes the Oversight allegations and that it has cooperated with congressional investigations.

Democrats contend the whole thing amounts to election-year politicking.

The House hasn't impeached a senior agency head since the 19th century and Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., has signaled he doesn't favor such a step in this instance.  A spokesman for Ryan declined to comment on Monday.

A senior House GOP aide said Monday that Koskinen would not appear at the hearing. He will submit a statement.

[ The GOP's War on the IRS ]

 

The IRS has come under new fire from conservative lawmakers and activists in recent months over the targeting scandal.

Rep. George Holding, R-N.C., last week introduced a bill that would strip IRS agents of their badges and guns. The measure proposes shifting the agency’s criminal investigations unit to the Treasury Department.

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