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Washington • House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz on Monday called for the resignation of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and short of that, threatened possible impeachment or holding the commissioner in contempt of Congress.
Koskinen, Chaffetz charged, failed to produce documents as requested under congressional subpoena and made false statements to Congress regarding emails from the former head of the Exempt Organizations Unit that critics say unfairly targeted conservative groups in the 2012 elections. About 24,000 emails are missing, the Oversight chairman contends.
"Mr. Koskinen should no longer be the IRS commissioner," Chaffetz said Monday. "We have asked the president to remove Mr. Koskinen from office."
If Koskinen remains, Chaffetz says he will pursue "all constitutional remedies at our disposal," including seeking a charge of contempt of Congress or impeaching him from office. The Oversight Committee has been probing actions of ex-IRS employee Lois Lerner who is accused of zealously questioning conservative groups on their tax status. The IRS says many of her emails were lost and backup tapes were erroneously erased.
Chaffetz says Koskinen must be held accountable for destroyed records, which means "the American people will never know all the facts surrounding the agency's targeting of conservative" tax-exempt groups.
"At best, Commissioner Koskinen was derelict in his duties to preserve agency records," Chaffetz says. "At worst, he and the IRS engaged in an orchestrated plan to hide information from Congress."
The IRS said in a statement that the "record is clear" that the agency and Koskinen have been cooperative and truthful in the various investigations over Lerner's actions.
"The agency has produced more than one million pages of documents in support of the investigations, provided 52 current and former employees for interviews and participated in more than 30 congressional hearings on these issues," the IRS said. "The agency will continue to cooperate with the committees, support the important oversight role of Congress as well as make additional improvements in our operations and processes."
Koskinen said earlier this year that the agency's troubles were a thing of the past and that concerns have been addressed. He noted that many of the workers who were involved in questionable practices are gone.
"The criticisms of these areas is absolutely deserved, but what gets lost is that these mistakes occurred several years ago, and we have taken concrete steps to address them," Koskinen said, according to The Washington Times. "It's not the IRS of 2010, 2011 or even 2012."
Chaffetz's investigations have already earned him the resignations of the heads of other agencies since he took over as chairman in January. The director of the Secret Service left her job after a spate of scandals emerged, and the leader of the Office of Personnel Management resigned in the wake of a data breach that left 4.2 million Americans vulnerable to identity thieves.
Chaffetz could also claim responsibility for the departures of the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency and the chairman of the Chemical Safety Board.