The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee introduced a resolution on Tuesday to impeach IRS commissioner John Koskinen for high crimes and misdemeanors.
The move comes days after the Justice Department announced that it would not be charging any IRS employees involved in a massive scandal in which conservative non-profit groups seeking tax-exempt status were unfairly targeted.
The former director of the agency’s exemptions unit, Lois Lerner, was also let off the hook.
Chaired by Republican Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz , the Oversight Committee asserts that Koskinen, who took over the agency in Dec. 2013, failed to comply with a subpoena resulting in destruction of key evidence, that he failed to notify Congress of missing evidence, and that he failed to testify truthfully while providing false and misleading information.
“Commissioner Koskinen violated the public trust,” Chaffetz said in a statement.
“Impeachment is the appropriate tool to restore public confidence in the IRS and to protect the institutional interests of Congress. This action will demonstrate to the American people that the IRS is under repair, and signal that Executive Branch officials who violate the public trust will be held accountable.”
The committee asserts that under Koskinen’s watch, the IRS erased more than 420 backup tapes containing 24,000 of Lerner’s emails. Koskinen also inaccurately testified that the IRS turned over all of Lerner’s emails and others relevant to the congressional investigation into the targeting scandal. Koskinen also falsely testified that the emails were unrecoverable, the committee claims.
Also under Koskinen’s leadership, the IRS failed to notify Congress in a timely manner that Lerner’s emails were missing. The agency destroyed some of Lerner’s emails in March 2014 but did not notify Congress of the missing records until June 2014. In the meantime, IRS officials notified the White House and the Treasury Department.
With the move, the committee advances on its demand in July that President Obama remove Koskinen from office. The White House did not respond to that request.