IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will not appear at a House “misconduct” hearing on Tuesday examining whether he deserves to be impeached, Politico reported.
Lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee summoned the tax chief to answer accusations from the House Oversight panel that he failed to preserve documents Congress requested for its probe of the IRS tea party scandal. They also say Koskinen didn’t tell the full truth about erased backup tapes containing copies of emails belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner.
Some Republicans even suspect the IRS intentionally destroyed documents as part of a cover-up. And Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who took over the investigation of the IRS’ treatment of conservative nonprofits upon taking the gavel last year, will make the impeachment case against Koskinen on Tuesday morning.
Koskinen won’t be there, the IRS says in a statement, because he was not given enough notice of the hearing, which was scheduled a little over a week ago. Koskinen just returned from a trip to China during which he met with tax leaders around the world, and he’s slated to testify before a second House panel this week.
“When the committee announced this hearing, he was returning from China after meeting with tax administrators of 43 nations,” the statement reads. “The committee’s quick timetable left him without the time to fully prepare for Tuesday’s hearing. In addition, he also has been preparing for a previous commitment to appear before a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Wednesday.”
“If I were him, I wouldn’t show up either,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan said on Fox Business’ Your World with Neil Cavuto Monday afternoon. “When you allow 422 back-up tapes to be destroyed — containing potentially 24,000 emails — and you do that with three preservation orders in place…and two subpoenas in place — and you allowed that to happen, I wouldn’t want to come in front of Congress either to talk about that very fact.”
Jordan noted that it’s been about 130 years since a department head has been impeached in the United States, “but when you have this kind of egregious activity,” the person responsible should go.
“We think he gave false testimony to Congress, and we gave him an opportunity to correct the record. He didn’t do that,” the Ohio congressman noted.
He went on to explain how the impeachment effort would proceed: “Tomorrow’s just the first hearing, reacquainting the Judiciary Committee with the basic facts, and in a couple of weeks we’ll have in the legal experts who’ll talk about the standard,” Jordan said. He added that “some people think the standard should be a criminal intent standard…we don’t think that’s what the Constitution requires and all sorts of sharp, legal minds agree with us.” Jordan concluded by saying that he believes Koskinen could certainly be found to have engaged in “a breach of public trust” or “a dereliction of duty” that could and should lead to his impeachment.
You can watch the hearing streaming live on the next page: