White House

President Trump, restore the credibility of the IRS. Ask Commissioner Koskinen to resign. Now

Strategy Room: David Mercer and Bradley Blakeman on why the Obama chosen holdover is still in place


As President Trump focuses on implementing changes across the federal government, there’s one agency that desperately needs his attention – and his penchant for change – the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

For many years now, we have been battling a corrupt IRS in federal court. This is a lawless IRS that wrongly targeted grassroots conservatives during the Obama administration.

As I reported here last year, we’re not the only ones critical of an untrustworthy IRS. Consider the words of a federal appeals court judge.

When we appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2016 presenting arguments on behalf of 38 organizations that we represent in our federal lawsuit, the court was very critical of the IRS. As Judge David B. Sentelle put it: “It’s hard to find the IRS to be an agency we can trust.”


As I reported then:

It took a series of orders from federal judges and the ongoing pressure of litigation to get the IRS to finally release a list of the organizations it has targeted. The government released the names of 426 organizations.  

And, as the Washington Times reports, it’s clear that many groups were targeted simply because of their conservative-sounding names. 

According to the Washington Times: “Sixty of the groups on the list released last month have the word ‘tea’ in their name, 33 have ‘patriot,’ eight refer to the Constitution, and 13 have ‘912’ in their name — which is the moniker of a movement started by conservatives. Another 26 group names refer to ‘liberty,’ though that list does include some groups that are not discernibly conservative in orientation.”

For years now, we have been calling for changes at the IRS – specifically, the removal of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

The most recent call for Koskinen to leave came last month from House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady. He told reporters: “Frankly in my view the most corrupt IRS commissioner that I’ve ever dealt with continues in my view to mislead Congress. And until he’s removed I don’t think the IRS will ever regain its credibility.”

We agree.

President Trump continues to work, as he puts it, to “drain the swamp.” And there’s no better place to focus those efforts than beginning the process of restoring the credibility of the IRS by demanding the resignation of Koskinen. 

I have repeatedly maintained that we still have an IRS that is corrupt and incapable of self-correction.

It was clear President Obama had no intention of removing him. But with President Trump now in the White House, Koskinen must go.

The American people deserve nothing less.

Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law. He also serves as a member of President Trump’s legal team.  Follow him on Twitter @JaySekulow.