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Chairman Wants IRS Commissioner Censured for False Statements, Impeding Investigation

WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee introduced a resolution today to censure IRS Commission John Koskinen for a lack of cooperation with the panel's investigation of the agency's targeting of conservative groups.

It demands that Koskinen be fired and have his pension stripped away.

Censure is a rarely employed tool in the House of Representatives, and basically amounts to formal condemnation. In 2012, the Oversight Committee, under then-chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), led the contempt of Congress charge against Attorney General Eric Holder for stonewalling the Fast and Furious investigation. That passed the House 255-67, with many Democrats walking out in protest.

The resolution introduced by Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) states that  "the House of Representatives does hereby censure and condemn John A. Koskinen for a pattern of conduct while Commissioner of Internal Revenue that is incompatible with his duties and inconsistent with the trust and confidence placed in him as an officer of the United States."

It adds that "it is the sense of the House of Representatives that John A. Koskinen, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, should immediately resign from office, and if he does not so resign, the President should remove him from office; and be required to forfeit all rights to any annuity for which he is eligible."

The resolution notes that Koskinen was subpoenaed by the committee on Feb. 14, 2014, "all communications sent or received by Lois Lerner, from January 1, 2009, to August 2, 2013." The former director of the department that oversaw tax-exempt organizations was at the center of the targeting scandal.

On March 4, 2014, IRS employees "magnetically erased 422 backup tapes, destroying as many as 24,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails responsive to the subpoena," therefore Koskinen "violated a congressional subpoena by failing to locate and preserve relevant records and by losing key pieces of evidence that were in the agency’s possession, and destroyed, on his watch," Chaffez's bill continues.

"As early as February 2014, and no later than April 2014, Commissioner Koskinen was aware that a substantial portion of Lois Lerner’s emails were missing and could not be produced to Congress, but did not notify Congress of any problem until June 13, 2014, when he included the information on the fifth page of the third enclosure of a letter to the Senate Committee on Finance."