John Koskinen did not testify at impeachment hearing
John Koskinen added another reason for Jason Chaffetz to not like him. Koskinen, the 48th IRS Commissioner, was supposed to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee in his impeachment hearing, but he declined, saying he did not have enough time to prepare.
John Koskinen and Committee’s Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who filed a resolution to impeach him, are at odds again.
On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee convened for the first of two hearings regarding the possible impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, and to everyone’s surprise, the former Non-Executive Chairman of Freddie Mac was not present. Why does Chaffetz want to impeach Koskinen?
“After the Justice Department notified Congress in October 2015 that there would be no charges against Lois Lerner or anyone else in the IRS, 19 members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee led by the Committee’s Chairman, Chaffetz , filed a resolution to impeach Koskinen. Those sponsoring the impeachment resolution to remove Koskinen from office accused him of failing to prevent the destruction of evidence in allowing the erasure of back-up tapes containing thousands of e-mails written by Lois Lerner, and of making false statements under oath to Congress.”
In a statement released by the Committee, Chaffetz said Koskinen:
“failed to comply with a congressionally issued subpoena, documents were destroyed on his watch, and the public was consistently misled. Impeachment is the appropriate tool to restore public confidence in the IRS and to protect the institutional interests of Congress.”
Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), the committee’s top Democrat, blasted the impeachment process by calling it a joke, and added:
“This ridiculous resolution will demonstrate nothing but the Republican obsession with diving into investigative rabbit holes that waste tens of millions of taxpayer dollars while having absolutely no positive impact on a single American. Calling this resolution a ‘stunt’ or a ‘joke’ would be insulting to stunts and jokes.”
One day before the hearing, Mr. Koskinen announced that he was skipping it because he did not have enough time to prepare because he was in China where he met with other tax leaders. The statement read:
“When the committee announced this hearing, he was returning from China after meeting with tax administrators of 43 nations. The committee’s quick timetable left him without the time to fully prepare for Tuesday’s hearing. In addition, he also has been preparing for a previous commitment to appear before a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Wednesday. [He] believes there is an extensive record from the congressional investigations and previous hearings on the actions taken at the IRS.”
A spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service added that Mr. Koskinen is willing to testify at a future hearing. Koskinen has given a written testimony ahead of Tuesday’s hearing. The Judiciary Committee will hold a second hearing in June; it is not known if Koskinen’s schedule will allow him to appear.
Many believe that Koskinen will get away because Republicans, like House Speaker Paul Ryan will not “launch a campaign-season impeachment effort with virtually no chance of success, even as they try persuading voters that they are running Congress constructively.”