Rep. Jim Jordan challenged IRS Commissioner John Koskinen during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday after Koskinen claimed that the IRS is “absolutely not” still targeting conservative non-profits. Koskinen, who is facing impeachment for making false statements to Congress, made the claim even though a federal court recently ruled otherwise.
“Mr. Koskinen, is the IRS still targeting conservative groups?” Jordan asked. Koskinen quickly responded, “Absolutely not.”
“Mr. Koskinen, that’s not what the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said. They just issued a decision on August 5, 2016, last month, and I just want to read from that decision,” Jordan continued.
“They said cessation has never occurred. The IRS has admitted to the inspector general, to the district court, and to this court that applications for exemption by some of appellant plaintiffs have never to this day been processed. It says it’s absurd to suggest that the effect of the IRS’s unlawful conduct — which delayed the processing of the plaintiffs’ applications — has been eradicated when two of the plaintiffs’ applications remain pending. It sounds like targeting is still going on, to me. It’s absurd to say the targeting has stopped, when the unlawful conduct continues. Again — this is not Jim Jordan saying this. This is not Donald Trump saying this. This is not the Freedom Caucus saying this. This is the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia deciding just six weeks ago. So you guys are still up to it, aren’t you?” Jordan asked, leaning back in his chair.
Koskinen conceded that there are three cases out of 145 but said they have not been processed because they are still in litigation.
Jordan said he wasn’t impressed with that argument, and neither was the court.
“They said the IRS is telling applicants in these cases – quote – ‘we’ve been violating your rights, not processing your applications, you’re entitled to have your applications processed, but if you ask for that processing by way of a lawsuit, then you can’t have it.’ The court wasn’t buying your argument!” exclaimed Jordan. “You can’t sit there and say you’re not still targeting. These organizations still don’t have their tax-exempt status.”
“Never forget the underlying offense,” Jordan stressed. “The IRS targeted people for exercising their most fundamental liberty. Their right to speak against the policies of their government. And they got harassed for doing that.”
Jordan concluded that Koskinen should have been gone a long time ago. “When this is the record — losing emails, back-up tapes destroyed, targeting still continues to this day — for goodness sake that’s why this hearing is important and we should move forward with the articles that Mr. Chaffetz submitted fifteen months ago and make sure that you no longer hold office.”