Members of the House Freedom Caucus called on House Speaker Paul Ryan and Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., to initiate proceedings to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
The move is based on the IRS’s repeated obstruction of the congressional investigations into the targeting of conservatives in the lead up to the 2012 presidential campaign.
“When you’re talking about a right that’s so fundamental to Americans, our First Amendment liberties, and it’s infringed upon in this way … we think it warrants something of this magnitude, which is impeaching the commissioner,” Freedom Caucus head Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told The Daily Signal.
In a speech on the House floor Thursday, the congressman said, referring to former IRS section head Lois Lerner, “So when you have the central figure exercising their Fifth Amendment right, not willing to testify in public and answer the people’s representatives’ questions, it sort of puts a premium on getting the documents and the communications that the IRS had relative to this issue.”
Jordan went on to point out Congress had two subpoenas in place and multiple preservation orders to obtain these documents, yet the IRS commissioner waited months to report that 24,000 of Lerner’s emails had been deleted and the backup tapes had been destroyed. “Every single duty he had he breached,” regarding the matter, including false testimony before Congress, argued the Ohio representative.
The impeachment articles are already written up, but remain held up in the House Judiciary Committee.
“Last October, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, delivered impeachment articles to the Judiciary Committee for consideration. Since then, Goodlatte hasn’t brought it up for a vote,” the Daily Signal reported.
“This has been a total obstruction of justice. And the question is, will Congress do anything when an agency like that walks all over us? Or are we just going to let it happen?” Caucus member Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., said.“At tax time, people are going to say, ‘gee, if the IRS asks for document from me and I destroy them, I wouldn’t get away with that,’” he added. “But that’s effectively what Commissioner Koskinen has been able to get away with.”
As reported by Western Journalism, the House Freedom Caucus forced the resignation of Speaker John Boehner last fall.