The Internal Revenue Service is fielding fire from two branches of government, the courts and Congress, with the first accusing the agency of ongoing dishonesty and the second – at least, some on the Republican side of the aisle – demanding the impeachment of the tax chief, John Koskinen.
As the Washington Times reported, Judge David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said in a hearing this week that evidence appears to show the IRS intruded upon the constitutional rights of tea-party groups by delaying their applications for nonprofit status, and by asking questions that went above and beyond what was necessary to process their paperwork.
“It’s hard to find the IRS to be an agency we can trust,” Sentelle said, the newspaper reported.
His statements came in context of scrutinizing claims from tea-party types who accused the IRS of delaying their nonprofit applications for political reasons as far back as 2010. The American Center for Law and Justice filed a suit against the IRS in May 2013 on behalf of 25 tea-party groups that cried foul.
“The IRS and the federal government are not going to get away with this unlawful targeting of conservative groups,” ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow said then in a widely reported statement. “The lawsuit sends a very powerful message to the IRS and the Obama administration, including the White House: Americans are not going to be bullied and intimidated by our government.”
And an inspector general confirmed hundreds of groups seeking nonprofit status saw their applications delayed, some of them for five or more years – and their common denominator was simply their conservative ideological bent.
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The IRS has maintained the applications were delayed due to poor employee training and to confusion over a previous Supreme Court ruling that muddied the approval process.
But the court wasn’t convinced. Another judge, Douglas Ginsburg, suggested enough time has passed since complaints first arose about delayed applications for the IRS to make decided improvements.
He asked, the Washington Times reported: “How much has really changed?”
Republicans in the House affiliated with the Freedom Caucus, meanwhile, have moved to impeach Koskinen, the IRS commissioner, who took over operations at the agency with a mandate of reform.
“When you have individuals running an agency with the power of the Internal Revenue Service doing what was done under Commissioner Koskinen’s watch, he in fact should be impeached,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, from the Senate floor, Breitbart reported. “That’s why we filed these articles of impeachment and that’s why we are asking that they move forward in the Judiciary Committee and we do what the American people sent us here to do.”