U.S. House conservatives are forcing a vote on the fate of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen after GOP leaders refused to pursue the issue.
On Thursday, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., and Rep. John Fleming, R-La., offered a privileged resolution demanding a vote to impeach Koskinen for multiple crimes he allegedly committed while covering up the IRS abuse of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Huelskamp told WND and Radio America he and other members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus had no other choice.
“This has been sitting out there for months and months. Leadership has refused to act, but it’s very clear. Mr. Koskinen engaged in a pattern of conduct incompatible with his office. He deceived Congress. He lied. He perjured himself. He deleted records. He covered it all up. At the end of the day, those are all impeachable offenses. We need to have a vote on that in the U.S. House,” Huelskamp said.
The congressman also explained the significance of the “privileged resolution.”
“Most resolutions the speaker can see fit to send them to committee, table them and do nothing,” he said. “But with a privileged resolution, it forces the House to take some vote on this action. We have two days to take a vote on that. We could do it later today, but more likely after the long recess. We would vote on that the first day back.”
Huelskamp actually prefers waiting so lawmakers, including leaders, can hear from their constituents on this after the summer recess.
“I’d like to see a vote the first day back,” he said. “Let members of Congress go home and ask their constituents, ‘What do you think about the IRS? Should they be above the law? Do you think anybody should be held accountable in the Obama administration?’ I think most Americans say, enough is enough. After all these years, it’s time to hold at least one person responsible.”
While Koskinen was not at the IRS at the time the harassment of conservative organizations was uncovered, Huelskamp said the commissioner’s actions since taking office are deplorable, particularly the destruction of some 50,000 emails that he was ordered to preserve.
“There were protective orders in the IRS not to delete emails,” he explained. “He knew that. He actually lied to Congress, saying he protected all those emails. We found out they literally deleted thousands of emails and didn’t disclose those to Congress. They impeded a congressional investigation. So he came in to supposedly clean it up and make it whole. But he continued with the cover-up.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan.:
Huelskamp said lawmakers would be derelict not to pursue impeachment.
“It is so distressing that we have a Republican majority in the House and we can’t actually use our constitutional authority to hold someone accountable. So we’re going to start with the IRS commissioner. If there’s an agency that Americans fear the most, maybe after the EPA or close to it, that’s the IRS,” he said.
“They can make or break a business. They can destroy lives. They can harass you. They can threaten you. They can intimidate you,” Huelskamp added.
So why has leadership refused to pursue impeachment of Koskinen under regular order?
“Far too often, what I’ve seen in my five years in Washington is our leadership shying away from a real battle,” Huelskamp said.
He said the case of former Attorney General Eric Holder is the most glaring example.
“They censured him. He covered up the Fast & Furious investigation, covered up the fact of dozens and dozens of American deaths because of their failed policy and refused to come clean to Congress, so we censured him. I thought we should have impeached him. (Former House Speaker) John Boehner [said] no, he’s not going to let us vote on that,” Huelskamp said.
He said the same goes for Hillary Clinton.
“We let her ride for far too long, and then the administration shockingly had a non-indictment of her after the the FBI director says clearly she committed criminal offenses,” Huelskamp said.
He said if Americans give their representatives an earful, he knows how the vote will go on the privileged resolution in a few weeks.
“We’re giving them a chance to actually go home and talk with their constituents and see what they think,” he said. “At the end of the day, if they vote the way Americans want to vote, we will impeach John Koskinen.”