It was news too good to be true: House Republicans planning on impeaching IRS commissioner John Koskinen. The man has been accused of obstructing justice and congressional investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative groups. House Republicans introduced a measure to impeach Koskinen in October 2015 for the aforementioned charges, and were expected to finally hold an impeachment vote. Republican Congressional leaders have advocated against forcing a vote on impeaching Koskinen despite his many misdeeds, and it looks like they just got their way.
Via Fox News
House Republicans reached an agreement late Wednesday to avoid a potentially divisive floor vote on impeaching IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
The deal scraps the vote on the so-called “privileged” impeachment resolution that had been expected to take place Thursday. Instead, the House Judiciary Committee will consider Koskinen’s impeachment, with the IRS boss expected to testify sometime next week.
The agreement makes it unlikely that any vote by the full House to impeach Koskinen will happen until after the November election, if at all. House Republican leadership had balked on moving forward on impeachment proceedings during an election season, arguing that an impeachment vote risked irritating voters. Others said Koskinen deserved a full House Judiciary Committee probe before embarking on the seldom-used impeachment process.
Yes – their reasoning was that holding impeachment hearings against a man who heads the second least popular government agency after the Veteran’s Administration would irritate voters.
The conservative House Freedom Caucus, which used a procedural maneuver to force a floor vote earlier this week, celebrated the development as a victory.
“This hearing will give every American the opportunity to hear John Koskinen answer under oath why he misled Congress, allowed evidence pertinent to an investigation to be destroyed, and defied Congressional subpoenas and preservation orders,” the caucus said in a statement. “It will also remove any lingering excuses for those who have been hesitant to proceed with this course of action.”
But the deal came only after conservatives predicted that their impeachment resolution was going to get sidelined by Democratic and Republican opposition Thursday. Even if the House was able to send the resolution to the Senate, Democrats there have enough votes to prevent Republicans from removing Koskinen from office.
The House needs only a simple majority vote to impeach a federal official, the equivalent of an indictment. The Senate then holds a trial and needs a two-thirds majority to find the official guilty and remove him or her from office.
No appointed official of the executive branch has been impeached in 140 years, so it would be a rarity if Koskinen were to be impeached. Who knows, maybe he’ll rattle off a whole list of new lies when he testifies next week and give his critics more fuel for impeachment.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]