A man who has spent decades in and out of government is worried the recent Republican crusade against him will discourage others from following in his footsteps, potentially viewing his professional arc as a cautionary tale of the perils of public service.
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen said in a visit to an agency facility in Utah that a recent push by House Republicans to impeach him would deter individuals from entering the federal government and seeking leadership roles.
"If this is the signal we are sending to people thinking about coming to take a senior position in government, it's going to make it harder for good people to come in," Koskinen said Wednesday, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
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Koskinen was speaking in the home state of the man leading the charge to oust him from government, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz. The committee has deemed the commissioner unfit after accusing him of failing to comply with subpoenas and destroying evidence relating to former IRS official Lois Lerner and the targeting of certain tax-exempt groups.
The former Y2K government point man, Office of Management and Budget deputy director and non-executive chairman of Freddie Mac said the scapegoating, coupled with significant budget cuts and job reductions, would inhibit IRS’ recruiting ability. The precedent House Republicans are setting, Koskinen said, carries more significance than the impact the impeachment effort could have on his career.
The next administration may find it is "harder to find people who want to be Cabinet secretaries, deputy secretaries, agency heads," he said, as reported by the Tribune. "It's going to be interesting to see who wants to take this seat next."
President Obama has declared his loyalty to Koskinen despite the impeachment procedures, and the commissioner himself said Wednesday he has “no intention of being hounded out of office” before the next president takes office.
Still, he cautioned his potential successors may think twice before agreeing to replace him.
“It doesn’t look like much fun,” he said.
For his part, Chaffetz told the Tribune Koskinen can end the public trial by resigning.
"He can solve this himself by doing the right thing for the nation and stepping aside,” the chairman said. “He is so egotistical that he can't bear to do that.”