The House Oversight Committee will vote this week on a resolution censuring IRS Commissioner John Koskinen over his handling of the tea party targeting scandal, panel Chairman Jason Chaffetz announced Monday.
The resolution urges Mr. Koskinen to resign or be fired — though it is not an impeachment resolution that would begin the process of forcing him from office by vote of Congress.
Republicans accuse Mr. Koskinen, who was installed to clean up the 2013 tea party scandal, of misleading Congress about the IRS’s own efforts to help investigators get to the bottom of the scandal. GOP lawmakers also say Mr. Koskinen thwarted a congressional subpoena, insisting former IRS senior executive Lois G. Lerner’s emails were irretrievably lost when they were actually sitting on backup tapes. Some of those tapes were even destroyed while the information was subject to the subpoena.
Mr. Koskinen says he informed Congress of the details of his investigation as quickly as he could, and says he wasn’t intending to violate the subpoena.
The oversight vote is the first step toward censure. A vote in the whole House would likely follow.
Democrats, though, said Mr. Chaffetz’s move is unusual, saying that censure would normally begin in the House Judiciary Committee.
“We have no idea why Chairman Chaffetz is rushing forward with his own vote, but this process is totally backwards,” said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the oversight committee. “The Republican Inspector General found absolutely no evidence that anyone at the IRS targeted any conservative groups for political reasons, and no evidence that Commissioner Koskinen obstructed the investigation. Yet Republicans seem to have selective amnesia in their political crusade against the IRS.”
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