House Republicans seek to impeach IRS commissioner, cut agency budget

Tax Hot Topics: Republicans try to impeach IRS commissionerThe House Judiciary Committee convened a hearing May 24 to examine House Republicans’ misconduct charges against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

Koskinen was confirmed as commissioner in 2013 in the wake of allegations of political bias by the IRS related to its scrutiny of tax-exempt applications of certain Section 501(c)(4) organizations. He has been under fire by congressional Republicans for his management of the agency, especially in his response to various congressional inquiries concerning the preservation of emails and other documents related to the scandal.

Republicans have sought email correspondence from a former official in the IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division. The correspondence, thought to have been destroyed, was subsequently recovered. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who introduced a resolution to impeach Koskinen, testified that the commissioner provided false testimony and misled Congress repeatedly. Koskinen, who declined to testify at the hearing, citing scheduling issues, submitted a written statement saying, among other things, that he relied on IRS IT personnel, who believed the emails, which had been stored on tapes, had been destroyed.

Democrats in the House have accused Republicans of politicizing the issue. Ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, D-Mich., said the resolution to impeach Koskinen “arises from the worst partisan instincts” and stands no chance of success in the Senate.

Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee proposed cutting the IRS’s overall budget by $236 million for fiscal year 2017. The measure would also include various administrative provisions related to IRS oversight, including preventing the agency from proposing rules governing the treatment of Section 501(c)(4) entities, as well as limitations on the IRS’s ability to provide bonuses or rehire former employees.

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