Koskinen should be Imprisoned, not just Removed
A little bit more of the swamp was drained last Thursday when President Trump announced that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will be replaced when his term expires on November 12. Actually, Koskinen deserves another term, not as IRS Commissioner, but as an inmate at Leavenworth. Merely replacing him is too little too late:
Trump tapped David Kautter, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for tax policy, to serve as interim IRS commissioner, beginning Nov. 13.
Koskinen’s term ends on Nov. 12. He was eligible for reappointment, but Koskinen is fiercely opposed by congressional Republicans. Members of the House Freedom Caucus attempted but failed to impeach Koskinen last year, largely over his handling of the scandal involving former IRS official Lois Lerner.
Prior to Koskinen’s tenure, Lerner was accused targeting conservative groups who applied for non-profit status. Koskinen was accused of stonewalling congressional investigators looking into Lerner’s activities as well as of covering up for the Obama administration.
Koskinen was an unindicted co-conspirator with Lois Lerner in the weaponizing of the IRS to target the Tea Party and other conservative groups during the 2012 election cycle, something which helped get President Barack Hussein Obama reelected. The
Trump DOJ has apologized to these groups for the IRS excesses but these apologies ring hollow after Attorney General Jeff Sessions, poster child for the Peter Principle, let Lois Lerner skate on all criminal charges. Apologies not accepted.
That introduction of a resolution to impeach IRS commissioner Koskinen came as no surprise considering the lawlessness of the Obama administration and its use of the IRS to bludgeon its political opponents and the refusal by the DOJ to prosecute Lois Lerner for her political targeting of the Tea Party and other conservative political groups, as well as her destruction of evidence.
The resolution, introduced by House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Rep. James Jordan (R-OH) and 18 other committee members, accuses Koskinen of making false statements under oath, failing to comply with a subpoena, and failing to notify Congress that key evidence was missing or destroyed. As they explained it to Fox News’ Sean Hannity:
"The heart of this concern is that they had in their possession documents that were under subpoena and they destroyed those," Chaffetz said. "Imagine, Sean, if the IRS had asked you for those documents and you said, 'Well, I had them, but I went ahead and destroyed them.' What would happen to you?"
Likely we would be incarcerated and not just impeached. As the Washington Times notes, Koskinen is knee-deep in the IRS corruption and the cover-up:
Among the specific charges leveled by Mr. Chaffetz and 18 of his fellow Republicans on the committee were that Mr. Koskinen, appointed by President Obama in December 2013 after the targeting scandal broke, misled Congress when he said he had turned over all of former IRS senior executive Lois G. Lerner’s emails and that he oversaw destruction of evidence when his agency got rid of backup tapes that contained the emails.
Lying to Congress and destruction of evidence under subpoena are federal crimes, and that includes the arrogant Mr. Koskinen, who is just one example of how being an Obama donor can get you a good job with the administration. As Investor’s Business Daily noted:
Certainly it might be argued that Koskinen's current position is owed to four decades of being a prodigious Democratic donor.
Koskinen has contributed to every Democratic presidential candidate since 1980, including $2,300 to Obama in 2008, and $5,000 to Obama in 2012.
Of course, being an Obama donor with a government job in and of itself is not a crime, but how Koskinen has used that job is positively criminal. Koskinen once confessed before Congress that obeying the law was a difficult task”
“Whenever we can, we follow the law," IRS chief John Koskinen recently told the House Ways and Committee in a Freudian slip of the truth that says it all.
When the DOJ dropped prosecution of Lerner, no one was more delighted than Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md) whom Roll Call quotes as saying after the Lerner dismissal:
“Over the past five years, Republicans in the House of Representatives have squandered literally tens of millions of dollars going down all kinds of investigative rabbit holes -- IRS, Planned Parenthood, Benghazi -- with absolutely no evidence of illegal activity,” Cummings said in a statement.
Actually, there is quite a bit, including arguably some coordination with the abusive IRS by Cummings himself. As Investor’s Business Daily has noted:
Of particular interest to us has been Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., ranking member on Rep. Darrell Issa's House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, who has made every effort to keep the committee from finding out the true extent of IRS corruption and abuse of power in its targeting of conservatives.
As we've noted, emails released by Issa, a California Republican, show that Cummings' Democratic staff had requested information from the IRS' tax-exempt division, the one headed by Lois Lerner, on True the Vote, a conservative group that monitors polling places for voter fraud and supports the use of voter IDs, something that Cummings opposes.
"The IRS and the Oversight Minority made numerous requests for virtually identical information from True the Vote, raising concerns that the IRS improperly shared, protected taxpayer information with Rep. Cummings' staff," the Oversight panel said in a statement.
House and Senate Democrats, it has been documented, often sent letters to the IRS asking that particularly successful and annoying groups be investigated. Cummings’ coordination and collusion with the IRS is also troubling if not criminal.
It is worth noting that one of the charges in the impeachment of Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandal was just considering the use of the IRS for political purposes. People went to jail in Watergate for participating in and covering up a crime. So to should John Koskinen, along with Lois Lerner.
Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.