I’m in . . . an uproar.
It’s now been several years since we learned that the IRS, a federal agency under the jurisdiction of the White House and charged with imposing, collecting, and enforcing the collection of, federal taxes, was caught egregiously breaching its fiduciary duties by using its confidential information to target, intimidate, audit, and harass political opponents of the Democratic Party. It is beyond dispute that this misconduct occurred and was ongoing.
So, what’s been done about it? Nothing tangible, that’s for sure.
A new IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen, was appointed in 2013 to bring this evil behavior to a halt and to produce information necessary to hold the “bad guys” accountable, and to bring them to justice. (IRS Commissioners are appointed to serve a five year term when nominated by the President and when such nomination is then confirmed by a majority vote of the Senate.)
As near as I can tell, Koskinen has done the first thing he was brought in to do, bring an end to abusive targeting of the “enemies” of the Democratic Party. However, he has failed—miserably—to carry out his latter assignment. In fact, in the course of earlier hearings in the House of Representatives, Koskinen lied in answers to questions put to him under oath in an attempt to illicit the facts, the scope and particulars of the IRS misdeeds. Koskinen doesn’t deny that his testimony was incomplete and misleading. His only defense: He didn’t realize that he was providing false answers. Put in clearer terms, his shabby defense was, and is, that he didn’t know the gun was loaded! That’s no excuse; it was his job to know.
So, now at least some members of the House want to “impeach” Koskinen. To be clear, “impeach” does not mean convict. Rather, what it means is to accuse, charge or indict one, in this case Koskinen, for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” A two thirds vote of the House of Representatives is required to impeach the holder of a federal office (ranging from the President, to federal judges and to employees of federal agencies, such as the IRS). If impeached (charged) by the House, Koskinen is then “tried” by the Senate, and either convicted or acquitted of the charges against him.
It should come as no surprise that this matter is tracking along party lines.* The Democrats, are rallying around Koskinen and, so far, are using House procedural rules to block any vote of impeachment. At least until after the election so that none of this impropriety on the part of the Democrats could possibly soil Hillary Clinton’s election campaign.
Stymied in the House Committee where impeachment is either recommended or not recommended, Republicans are threatening to circumvent the House Committee logjam by bringing the impeachment question directly to the House floor. Because the Republicans don’t have the necessary two-thirds vote of the full House to impeach, all of the hullabaloo is more a matter of principle–pomp and ceremony–than anything else.
I disagree. Koskinen’s duty is to we the people, not to the party in control of the White House. Koskinen has not properly performed his duty. I think voters should know who wants to hold the IRS accountable and who merely wants to just cover this up. If Koskinen does not voluntarily resign, then I think he should be impeached and tried.
Media is mostly saying “tsk tsk.” They are more worried about a bad precedent of supposedly abusing the impeachment process than they are about the underlying bad precedent of politically abusing the integrity of the IRS. (It remains to be seen who’s abusing the impeachment process here, those advocating it or those opposing it.) Of course, I could have said “liberal media” . . . But that’s oxymoronic.
I don’t know whether Koskinen deserves to be convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors, or even impeached, but I do know that I want the House to vote on impeachment now based on their investigation to date. There’s no legitimate basis to delay the impeachment vote any longer. Enough facts have been established. It’s not that we can’t pretty much guess how a vote will go, but I think each House member should have to stand up and be counted, and not just say “we’ll, golly gee, I don’t know yet.” I want to know how each representative votes, and I want every American to at least have the opportunity to know how each representative votes.
I think it’s time to “know.” What about you? Do you care? Do you feel like . . . roaring?
* I found it refreshing to see both sides of the aisle join together this week to override Obama’s attempt to veto Congress’s bill permitting families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged complicity in those events. This is but the first time Obama has been overturned by Congress. Some might feel that speaks highly of Obama, that he’s been renounced only once during his Presidency. Others might feel that speaks poorly of Congress. You can each decide that one for yourself. Either way, it was the first incidence of bipartisan Congressional action in a long while.
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