House Freedom Caucus to Force Floor Vote to Impeach IRS Commissioner

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

The H0use Freedom Caucus, the chamber’s conservative bloc, will file a privileged motion to force a floor vote on whether to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for his failure to cooperate with congressional oversight of his agency.

“There’s a belief across this country that there are two standards: one for the powerful and politically-connected and another for ordinary citizens. The IRS Commissioner – the head of one of the most powerful government agencies – was able to get away with behavior no ordinary American could,” the statement said.

“It’s long past time for Commissioner Koskinen to be held accountable for years of stonewalling Congress’ oversight efforts. Under his watch, false testimony was given and documents were destroyed. And we should never forget that the underlying offense was the targeting of Americans for their political beliefs,” the statement said.

The IRS stands accused of targeting conservative groups by withholding approval of their tax-status. Without a decision, the groups were frozen without anything to appeal.

Two days before Speaker Paul Ryan took the gavel Oct. 29, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted to impeach Koskinen.

“Commissioner Koskinen violated the public trust,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R.-Utah), the chairman of House Oversight. “He failed to comply with a congressionally issued subpoena, documents were destroyed on his watch, and the public was consistently misled. Impeachment is the appropriate tool to restore public confidence in the IRS and to protect the institutional interests of Congress.”

Chaffetz said the resolution was also sending a message: “This action will demonstrate to the American people that the IRS is under repair, and signal that Executive Branch officials who violate the public trust will be held accountable.”

The resolution cited Koshinen for failing to comply with a subpoena resulting in destruction of key evidence, to locate and preserve IRS records in accordance with a congressional subpoena and an internal preservation order. While 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.

The committee also accused the commissioner of failing to testify truthfully and provided false and misleading information and failing to notify Congress that evidence relating to Lerner was missing.

Sources close to the effort to push for the impeachment, which is similar to an indictment, which is then sent to the Senate for final adjudication, told Breitbart News that Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R.-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and his staffers worked behind the scenes to derail the impeachment from coming to the House floor in two ways. First, they insisted that the impeachment also be approved by the committee, where it would be voted down and the second way was to insist upon rules of evidence for the impeachment consistent with a criminal trial.

There were also media reports that the speaker worked to stymie the impeachment resolution from moving forward.

A privileged motion is called without debate and there are no amendments.

Membership in the House Freedom Caucus is privately-held, but some congressmen have been publicly as members. It was Rep. John Fleming (R.-La.), who notified the House of his intention to file the privileged motion at 9:17 a.m., was joined by Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R.-Kansas). It will be taken up upon House’s return from its summer recess. Fleming is running for Senate and Huelskamp in a tight primary fight.

Mission statement of the House Freedom Caucus: “The House Freedom Caucus gives a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them. We support open, accountable and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law, and policies that promote the liberty, safety, and prosperity of all Americans.”


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