Of Course: Democrats Defend IRS Commissioner, Slam Impeachment Resolution

Katie Pavlich
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Posted: Oct 28, 2015 12:30 PM
Of Course: Democrats Defend IRS Commissioner, Slam Impeachment Resolution

Yesterday Republican members of the House Oversight Committee introduced a resolution to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for a variety of offenses. 

You can read the details of the impeachment resolution and the charges against Koskinen here. Also keep in mind that earlier this year a federal judge threatened to "haul into court the IRS Commissioner to hold him personally in contempt" for failing to comply with court mandated document requests surrounding the IRS targeting of conservatives under former IRS official Lois Lerner. 

Now House Democrats, with Oversight Ranking Member Elijah Cummings leading the way, are defending Koskinen and slamming the impeachment resolution

House Democrats quickly denounced the move as political grandstanding.

“Calling this resolution a ‘stunt’ or a ‘joke’ would be insulting to stunts and jokes,” Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.) the committee’s top Democrat, said in a statement. He said the impeachment resolution was “ridiculous” and a waste of taxpayer money.

“Instead of squandering millions of taxpayer dollars on baseless partisan attacks,” Cumming said, “the committee should focus on issues that matter to all Americans, like bringing down the costs of prescription drugs, as I have requested for the past year with no success.”

It is important to keep in mind that Cummings himself is embroiled in controversy and alleged unethical behavior surrounding the IRS targeting scandal. In fact, previous reporting shows not only did he try to obstruct the investigation into the IRS for targeting conservatives, his office took part in the targeting. 

Emails show Lois Lerner fed information about the non-profit voting rights organization True The Vote, which was targeted by the agency, to Cummings. Cummings had repeatedly inquired about the group to the IRS due to his opposition to their position on voter identification laws. At the same time, Cummings denied to the Oversight Committee majority that he or his staff had ever contacted or communicated with the IRS about True The Vote. From my previous reporting:

New IRS emails released by the House Oversight Committee show staff working for Democratic Ranking Member Elijah Cummings communicated with the IRS multiple times between 2012 and 2013 about voter fraud prevention group True the Vote. True the Vote was targeted by the IRS after applying for tax exempt status more than two years ago. Further, information shows the IRS and Cummings' staff asked for nearly identical information from True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht about her organization, indicating coordination and improper sharing of confidential taxpayer information.

Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, along with five Subcommittee Chairmen are demanding Cummings provide an explanation for the staff inquiries to the IRS about True the Vote and for his denial that his staff ever contacted the IRS about the group.

“Although you have previously denied that your staff made inquiries to the IRS about conservative organization True the Vote that may have led to additional agency scrutiny, communication records between your staff and IRS officials – which you did not disclose to Majority Members or staff – indicates otherwise,” the letter to Cummings states. “As the Committee is scheduled to consider a resolution holding Ms. Lerner, a participant in responding to your communications that you failed to disclose, in contempt of Congress, you have an obligation to fully explain your staff’s undisclosed contacts with the IRS.”

As a result of Cummings' behavior, True The Vote filed an ethics complaint against him.

The House will vote on the impeachment resolution for Koskinen in the coming days.