No Vote On IRS Commissioner’s Impeachment Before the Holidays
Despite efforts by the House Freedom Caucus on Tuesday to force the House of Representatives to vote on whether to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen as early as this Thursday, the House managed to table the issue—yet again. On Tuesday, outgoing House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan proposed a resolution to impeach Mr. Koskinen, which would allow for a vote as early as Thursday according to chamber rules. While conservatives have been calling for Mr. Koskinen’s impeachment for nearly a year now because he allegedly misled a congressional investigatory committee concerning the IRS’ targeting of tea party nonprofit groups, Republican leadership has succeeded in stalling the issue. Tuesday’s proceedings saw the House vote 342-72 to send the issue of whether to impeach Mr. Koskinen back to the Judiciary Committee, thereby avoiding a vote in the House on outright impeachment.
Those in favor of the vote argue that Mr. Koskinen should be punished for his actions relating to the tea party groups. On the other side, Democrats and Republicans have continued to seek a less severe penalty, and are concerned that impeaching Mr. Koskinen may set a bad precedent and lower the requirements to impeach government officials in the future. Under the Constitution, impeachment is only proper for “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” However, “high crimes and misdemeanors” remains undefined. If Mr. Koskinen was impeached, he would be first appointed executive-branch official to be impeached in 140 years.
House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) also suggested that Mr. Koskinen should resign before the end of the year, as his term, which expires at the end of 2017, is likely not to be renewed by President-Elect Donald Trump. A spokesperson for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi echoed the sentiment, opining that the House Freedom Caucus “is doing President-Elect Trump’s dirty work for him,” noting that the impeachment effort “comes as the president-elect remains under audit by the IRS.”
In response to the failed vote, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mr. Jordan lamented that the House “just referred the resolution to the committee where it’s been for 18 months.” Interestingly, the House’s decision to postpone this vote, which now will not take place during this Congress, comes suspiciously close to the upcoming holidays, leading some to suspect that lawmakers merely did not want to address this issue during the current term.
Taxpayers must now wait until 2017 for any potential winds of change in the IRS.
–By Tony Nasser, Esq., Barnes Law
Tony Nasser is an attorney licensed to practice law in California.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.
 U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 4.