House Delays IRS Chief Impeachment Vote, Schedules Hearing

IRS chief John Koskinen will have an opportunity to testify. IRS chief John Koskinen will have an opportunity to testify. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Putting aside for now a back-bencher’s resolution to impeach the Internal Revenue commissioner, House leaders late Wednesday night settled on a new schedule that gives the Republican conference more time to work out clashing political strategies with only weeks to go to the election.

The House Judiciary Committee announced that, rather than having an immediate floor vote on the privileged resolution to impeach John Koskinen, the panel on Sept. 21 will hold its third hearing on the alleged misdeeds of the IRS leader appointed by President Obama to calm the agency’s storms in the wake of a three-year-old controversy on alleged political bias against conservative nonprofits.

In a statement, the Judiciary panel chaired by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., noted that Koskinen had declined to appear when invited to a May hearing, and that next Wednesday the commissioner will be the sole witness.

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The IRS in a statement said, “We learned of this unexpected development very late last night from the Judiciary Committee. We are reaching out today to the committee to discuss the timing of the hearing, which we understand would be a preliminary hearing rather than a formal impeachment proceeding.”

Rep. John Fleming, R-La., had introduced the privileged impeachment resolution in hopes of a House floor vote on Thursday, arguing that Koskinen “failed in his duty to respond to lawfully issued congressional subpoenas” and “engaged in a pattern of deception that demonstrates his unfitness to serve as commissioner.”

Late Wednesday, Fleming issued a statement saying, “I am glad to see that the resolution I filed has led to a formal impeachment hearing of John Koskinen. He needs to be put under oath, and this never would have happened without our efforts to bring this issue to the forefront. We’ve pressured leadership to move forward with regular order on this issue. However, if regular order is not followed through with, we still reserve the right to bring up a privileged resolution again in November and go directly to a vote.”

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