Republican Resolution to Impeach IRS Commissioner
House Republicans are here, wasting our time.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in strong opposition to a resolution to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen:
“I am extremely disappointed that House Republicans are here, wasting our time on this effort to unfairly malign an honorable public servant. Let me repeat that for the record — Republican accusations against Commissioner John Koskinen are without merit. To the contrary, they have been thoroughly investigated — and rejected — by Russell George, the Republican-appointed Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
“Before he was appointed by President George W. Bush, the Inspector General served as the Republican staff director of a subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. When Republicans launched their investigation of the so-called IRS targeting scandal, they relied on Mr. George to lead that charge. It was Mr. George’s team who discovered in 2015 that two low-level employees in West Virginia erased back-up tapes so they could be reused because they did not understand that they were not supposed to.
“But when Mr. George examined Republican claims that the Commissioner directed those actions or was personally involved, he found: “No evidence was uncovered that any IRS employees had been directed to destroy or hide information from Congress, the DOJ or TIGTA.” He also found: “no evidence that the IRS employees involved intended to destroy the data on the tapes or the hard drives in order to keep this information from Congress, the DOJ or TIGTA.” Mr. George testified before Congress that Commissioner Koskinen was “extremely cooperative” with his investigation.
“Mr. George’s findings tracked those of career investigators at the Justice Department who found “no evidence that any official involved in the handling of the tax-exempt applications or IRS leadership attempted to obstruct justice.”
“Let me say this as clearly as I can — in order to vote in favor of this resolution today, you have to believe that the Republican Inspector General of the IRS is essentially lying.
“Republicans have refused to listen to Mr. George. They refused to invite him to testify about Mr. Koskinen’s supposed wrongdoing. They denied the Commissioner any real due process in these sham impeachment proceedings. And they ignored the answers that Commissioner Koskinen provided to the Judiciary Committee on November 1, which answered every conceivable question posed to him.
“There are many, many critical things that Congress should be spending its time on. But this is not one of them. I urge my colleagues to oppose the Resolution to Impeach Commissioner John Andrew Koskinen. We are better than this.”
In September, Cummings and Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin released correspondence with Inspector General George in which he confirmed that his investigators have identified no new evidence whatsoever over the past year that would cause them to change the conclusions in their 2015 report.