High Crimes and Misdemeanors at Obama IRS

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Just so we are clear about what has gone down, the same crooked administration and the same corrupt federal agencies responsible for the IRS-Tea Party scandal now say no crimes were committed. In a letter addressed to the House Ways and Means Committee, Assistant Attorney General Peter J. Kadzik explains why the Department of Justice (DOJ) declined to press ahead.

“Ineffective management is not a crime,” he wrote.  And so the Obama Justice Department dismissed reams evidence, mostly uncovered by Judicial Watch, of obstruction of justice, obstruction of Congress, civil rights violations, the illegal release of taxpayer information, the illegal use of taxpayer information, unlawful audits, and perjury.

We responded immediately with a statement:

President Obama’s IRS was used against his opponents to help him win reelection.  So the Obama Justice Department’s decision to shut down its IRS abuse investigation with no prosecutions is as unsurprising as it is corrupt.  Judicial Watch’s independent litigation proved the Obama IRS obstructed justice and destroyed evidence.  And we uncovered that the IRS and Lois Lerner conspired with the Justice Department and FBI on a plan to jail the very Americans the IRS was illegally suppressing.  In fact, Justice Department lawyers recently admitted in federal court that the IRS watchdog is still digging through IRS backup tapes and has no idea when the search will be complete.  This same Justice Department decides it can shut down an investigation before it has all the evidence?  That might pass muster in Chicago, but America deserves better – the IRS is not above the law.

Congress needs to get its act together and consider the impeachment and removal from office the officials, including Barack Obama, responsible for the worst abuse of the IRS in American history.  Judicial Watch will continue its independent investigation and litigation that has made it the best source for the truth about the continuing IRS scandal.  In the meantime, the Justice Department and FBI, which illegally obtained IRS files on Americans with the help of Lois Lerner and the Obama IRS, should finally be investigated for their role in Obama’s misuse of federal law and tax agencies against innocent Americans.

Many thousands of JW supporters have echoed the calls for impeachment over the last few months.  George Will, one of most influential political columnists, recently wrote a column entitled “Time to impeach the IRS director”:

After [IRS Commissioner John] Koskinen complained about the high cost in time and money involved in the search, employees at a West Virginia data center told a Treasury Department official that no one asked for backup tapes of Lerner’s emails. Subpoenaed documents, including 422 tapes potentially containing 24,000 Lerner emails, were destroyed.

For four months, Koskinen kept from Congress information about Lerner’s elusive emails. He testified under oath that he had “confirmed” that none of the tapes could be recovered.

Lerner conducted government business using private email, and when she was told that the IRS’s instant messaging system was not archived, she replied: “Perfect.”

Koskinen’s obfuscating testimonies have impeded investigation of unsavory practices, including the IRS’ sharing, potentially in violation of tax privacy laws, up to 1.25 million pages of confidential tax documents. Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, which has forced the IRS to disgorge documents, says some “prove that the agency used donor lists to audit supporters of organizations engaged in First Amendment-protected lawful political speech.”

Mr. Will evidently had some good sources on the Hill, as House Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced a resolution this week to impeach the IRS commissioner for “high crimes and misdemeanors.”  The resolution focuses on the lies and obstruction of Obama’s IRS henchman in lying to Congress about the Lois Lerner emails.  According to Chaffetz, Koskinen violated the public trust in the following ways:

  • Failed to comply with a subpoena resulting in destruction of key evidence.  Commissioner Koskinen failed to locate and preserve IRS records in accordance with a congressional subpoena and an internal preservation order.  The IRS erased 422 backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails – key pieces of evidence that were destroyed on Koskinen’s watch.
  • Failed to testify truthfully and provided false and misleading information.  Commissioner Koskinen testified the IRS turned over all emails relevant to the congressional investigation, including all of Ms. Lerner’s emails.  When the agency determined Ms. Lerner’s emails were missing, Commissioner Koskinen testified the emails were unrecoverable.  These statements were false.
  • Failed to notify Congress that key evidence was missing.  The IRS knew Lois Lerner’s emails were missing in February 2014.  In fact, they were not missing; the IRS destroyed the emails on March 4, 2014.  The IRS did not notify Congress the emails were missing until June 2014 – four months later, and well after the White House and the Treasury Department were notified.

Kudos on this impeachment push on the Lerner email obstruction.  It is imperfect justice, but a move needed toward accountability.  Once again, it was Judicial Watch’s hard work that resulted in this accountability.

Our historic Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeks documents about the Obama IRS’ targeting and harassment of Tea Party and conservative opponents of President Obama.  Judicial Watch’s litigation forced the IRS first to admit that Lerner’s emails were supposedly missing, and then that the emails were on IRS’ back-up systems.

What next?  The House Judiciary Committee will have to move to consider and approve the proposed articles of impeachment in order to move them to consideration by the full House.  If a majority of the House approves, the issue would move to the Senate for trial.  Two-thirds of senators present must then vote to convict and remove Obama’s IRS commissioner from office.

Interested citizens should focus on sharing their views with members of the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).  Also, in the meantime, individual House members can choose to co-sponsor the impeachment resolution.


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