Former IRS Commissioners Urge Lawmakers Against Censuring Koskinen

CCH Tax Day Report

Eight former IRS commissioners, from both Republican and Democratic administrations, joined in a letter during the week of July 4 urging the House to reject proposals of censure and impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. The July 6 letter was addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., and ranking member Sander Levin, D-Mich.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recently approved HRes 737, authored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah (TAXDAY, 2016/06/16, C.2), which would censure Koskinen and urges his resignation or removal. In addition, the House Judiciary Committee held its second hearing examining allegations of misconduct as GOP lawmakers voiced suggestions of impeachment (TAXDAY, 2016/06/23, C.2).

The former commissioners advised that House actions currently being considered against Koskinen would be “disproportionate and counterproductive.” They wrote, “Koskinen is recognized as an honest and honorable public servant who is trying to do a good job on behalf of our country and its citizens in running the IRS under trying circumstances.”

Arguing that continuity and strong leadership is particularly needed at this critical time of the IRS, the former commissioners pointed out that replacing Koskinen would mark having a fifth IRS commissioner in four years. The letter noted that, despite recent IRS mistakes, “the IRS is doing a good job in light of the burdens with which it is struggling in order to administer a tax system that is far too complex and burdensome, and is doing so with inadequate and shrinking resources.” The former commissioners concluded that censuring or impeaching Koskinen would primarily impact and harm “everyday Americans, small businesses and other taxpayers as they attempt to comply with their obligations imposed by our tax laws.”

Reaction

“The speaker believes the committees are best to review and handle potential actions,” Ryan’s deputy press secretary told Wolters Kluwer on July 11. The House Judiciary Committee’s next steps will be to reflect on the findings of the most recent hearing and decide whether Congress should take further action, a Republican aide told Wolters Kluwer after the committee’s second hearing.

By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff

Letter to House Leaders Regarding Impeachment of IRS Commissioner Koskinen

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