House Republicans Schedule Discussion of Possible Koskinen Impeachment for Next Week

CCH Tax Day Report

House Republicans have scheduled a planning conference for September 15 to discuss the possible impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, a House Republican leadership aide told Wolters Kluwer on September 7. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., announced earlier in the day that the planning conference would occur next week, adding “this is something where the conference is going to work its will.”

House Freedom Caucus members John Fleming, R-La., and Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., offered a privileged resolution on July 14 to force a floor vote on Koskinen’s potential impeachment (TAXDAY, 2016/07/15, C.2). The motion came after two House Judiciary Committee hearings examining allegations that Koskinen failed to comply with congressional subpoenas (TAXDAY, 2016/06/23, C.2).

“This is a privileged resolution so it will come to the floor,” Ryan told reporters on September 7. “You have members on both sides of this…members on the House Judiciary Committee, on both sides of this issue,” he added. Some Republican lawmakers have voiced concern as to whether impeachment is appropriate in this case.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., however, continues to consider the issue, Emily Schillinger, Ways and Means communications director, told Wolters Kluwer on September 7. “It’s clear from the Ways and Means Committee’s oversight efforts that we need better leadership at the IRS. The chairman believes the best way to permanently fix the IRS is to reform our broken tax code and fundamentally redesign the IRS,” Schillinger said.

A number of organizations and individuals have been speaking out in defense of Koskinen as of late. During the week of August 29, a group of 123 tax law professors sent a letter to House leadership urging against any resolution to impeach or censure Koskinen. “We believe that nothing that has been reported provides any basis for impeachment or censure,” the professors wrote.

An IRS spokesperson told Wolters Kluwer shortly after the resolution was filed in July that “Koskinen believes that a traditional, fair impeachment process that follows historical precedent would demonstrate that neither impeachment nor censure is warranted.” The spokesperson added, “If this proceeds, he deserves an opportunity to refute the allegations and fully respond to these charges before a House vote on the allegations.”

By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff

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