On the Impeachment of John Koskinen as IRS Commissioner
On the Impeachment of John Koskinen as IRS Commissioner:
On the motion to lay on the table: NO.
On the motion to refer to committee: YES.
On December 6, Congressman Jim Jordan moved to impeach John Koskinen as IRS commissioner for actions related to the IRS harassment of taxpayer groups based on their political beliefs. Although Koskinen did not order the harassment, there is considerable evidence that he willfully obstructed a lawful Congressional investigation of the matter and that he lied to Congress. If proven, either of these actions constitutes an impeachable offense. Nancy Pelosi moved to lay the motion on the table, which in House practice is the same as defeating it. Because I believe the motion to impeach Koskinen is a legitimate exercise of Congress’ constitutional authority, I voted against this motion.
However, the power of impeachment is one of the most serious checks on an abusive executive branch that Congress possesses, and it must be exercised judiciously and with full respect to due process. Once an impeachment resolution is introduced, the Judiciary Committee must then begin a full investigation, the accused accorded the right to answer the charges, and the evidence obtained from this investigation must then guide the Congress in its deliberations. Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte moved to refer the motion to his committee to begin this constitutional process. I voted to do so.
It is unfortunate that this impeachment motion was made in the closing hours of the session, with no time for serious and sober consideration in the House or trial by the Senate. I believe this tactic made a mockery of this vital constitutional function and trivialized the very serious charges against Koskinen. This resolution should have been introduced many months ago, so that a credible impeachment process could proceed. It was not.
The new Congress convenes on January 3rd. Koskinen’s term as IRS commissioner does not expire until November of 2017. If the authors of this resolution were serious about proceeding – and they should be – the time to introduce an impeachment resolution would be in less than a month, when a credible, factual and compelling impeachment could be undertaken.
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