Fedblog FedblogFedblog
Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Is the IRS Chief a Quitter?

ARCHIVES
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Internal Revenue Commissioner John Koskinen this week continues his slog through a series of hostile congressional hearings centering on the tax agency’s recent confirmation that some long-sought scandal-related emails from former Exempt Organizations official Lois Lerner went missing.

During Friday’s Ways and Means Committee session, the IRS’ explanations drew scoffs from Republicans and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., looked Koskinen in the eye and said, “I don’t believe you.”

The commissioner, whom Democrats sought to rehabilitate as a witness by recapping his stellar career as a private- and public-sector turnaround manager, said this was the first time he’d ever encountered such a reaction.

But then Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., took things further. “You made a bad choice,” he told Koskinen. “You were brought in as a white knight, and the administration is trading on your reputation.” Saying he didn’t mean to be “condescending,” Roskam predicted that “within several months or a year, you will be gone,” and the troubled IRS will move on with someone else.

Moments later, after Roskam had left the hearing, the commissioner was given time to respond by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., who thanked Koskinen for taking on a thankless job.

Koskinen replied, “Some people told me I ought to have my head examined.” Then he shot down the notion “that in six or 12 months I will somehow fade away. I will serve the three-and-a-half years remaining in my term come whatever will be,” he said. “The IRS staff must have confidence that I’m not going to cut and run.”

Earlier in the week, Koskinen received a vote of confidence from former IRS Commissioner Lawrence Gibbs, who was appointed by President Reagan in 1986. In an interview with the nonprofit publisher Tax Analysts, he called Koskinen “the right person at the right time for the job.” When he was commissioner, Gibbs added, he “did not have to deal with a partisan Congress. Certainly there were ideological differences… but in the final analysis when problems arose, they found ways to come together on a bipartisan basis and get things done.”

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.