Conservative House members are demanding the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen over his repeated failures to preserve and present evidence and deceiving lawmakers in testimony before Congress.
The accusations stem from the ongoing investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status. However, members of the House Freedom Caucus separately asserts the IRS is blatantly guilty of violating the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans.
The push for Koskinen’s impeachment began months ago, but Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and some of his House Freedom Caucus colleagues brought the issue to the House floor last week in conjunction with the federal income tax filing deadline.
Jordan said Koskinen has a consistent pattern of obstruction and lying. Most frustrating is the destruction of up to 24,000 emails on Koskinen’s watch that may well have been critical to the congressional investigation into the IRS.
“On his watch, 400 back-up tapes are destroyed,” Jordan told WND and Radio America. “He had the duty to preserve the documents with preservation orders put in place. He had a duty to produce them with two subpoenas asking for the documents.
“He had a duty to testify accurately, which he did not. He had the duty to correct the record when he testified in an inaccurate fashion and he had a duty to tell us in a timely manner when in fact they had destroyed the documents and lost the documents. He failed every single duty he had, and it seems to me, when you put all that record together, he should be impeached.”
Jordan said Koskinen has offered plenty of reasons for not complying with Congress, but none of them are any good.
“‘Bureaucratic snafu. We just didn’t quite get it done right. It wasn’t my fault. It was all the people down here. Oh, by the way, you didn’t send us enough money,'” Jordan recounted Koskinen as saying.
Jordan said the IRS itself would never be OK with the kind of excuses its leader is offering.
“If you were a taxpayer being audited and you allowed documents to be destroyed and you said, ‘I’m going to wait four months before I tell the IRS,’ do you think you could just behave that way? There is no way the average citizen could do that, but yet if you’re the big-shot commissioner that the president brought in to ‘clean up the IRS,’ you get away with it,” Jordan said.
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio:
While Jordan and his allies do not expect much greater cooperation from any other Obama appointees if Koskinen were to be impeached, Jordan said Koskinen’s conduct demands decisive action, and he said the legislative branch is long overdue in sending a clear message to President Obama.
“Right now, the executive branch is trampling all over the legislative branch,” he said. “The founders, in their wisdom, wanted the legislative branch to be that part of our separate but equal branches of government that exercise the power of the purse and was the body closer to the people. The executive branch is trampling over the natural checks and balances.”
But while the House Freedom Caucus is bent on holding Koskinen accountable, House GOP leaders have yet to back the effort.
“We keep pushing, but we’re not hearing the right things yet,” Jordan said.
In addition to Koskinen’s actions that include failure to preserve evidence and possibly destroying it, Jordan said it’s vital to remember this all happened because the former IRS director for nonprofits, Lois Lerner, lied about what happened and invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, refusing to testify before Congress.
“It puts a premium on the documents, the emails, the actual record,” Jordan said. “They were going after people’s most cherished right – the right to speak in a political nature against the policies of your government. You shouldn’t be harassed for doing so. Yet that’s what the IRS did.”
Jordan said the Government Accountability Office, or GAO, discovered the IRS falls $385 billion short of collecting all the revenue it should. The GAO offered 112 recommendations to close the gap, but less than half have been implemented.
But while the IRS ignores its main job, Jordan offered a new bombshell – that the IRS has been tracking people through their cell phones through stingray technology without proper authorization. He says the IRS is known to have used the technology on at least 37 occasions.
“They come into an area. The stingray device mimics a cell-phone tower. So all cell phones in that area don’t run to the cell phone tower,” Jordan said. “They now bounce into the stingray and the IRS has the ability to get your number and your location. They are using this technology without getting a probable cause warrant.
“So they’re engaging in this type of behavior as well, which shouldn’t surprise us. If they’re willing to go after your First Amendment liberties, they’re probably not concerned about your Fourth Amendment rights, either,” he said, noting wryly that the stingray was not one of the 112 recommendations suggested by the GAO report.