Members of the House Freedom Caucus, a faction of the House’s most conservative members, are driving the effort to oust Koskinen, who has served at the helm of the embattled agency since late 2013. His term expires in November 2017.
The IRS has been subjected to congressional scrutiny and punitive budget cuts since a 2013 scandal in which the agency acknowledged it had targeted for extra scrutiny political groups seeking tax-exempt status. Most of the groups were right-leaning or affiliated with the Tea Party movement.
Koskinen did not work at the IRS when the scandal took place. He came to the job tasked with improving the agency’s image, but those efforts quickly went awry after it was discovered e-mail servers with data requested by congressional investigators had been erased.
Koskinen has never been charged with any wrongdoing but conservatives say he obstructed a congressional investigation and provided Congress with inaccurate information.
That was reason enough for some Republicans to argue that impeachment is warranted. But party leaders and key chairmen felt otherwise. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, who has jurisdiction over the IRS, has not embraced the impeachment effort. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte held two hearings on the issue, but Koskinen never appeared and the effort stalled in committee.
In order to force the House to act, conservative Reps. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., and John Fleming, R-La., introduced a privileged resolution on Tuesday calling for impeachment. House Rules require a vote on such a resolution within two days.
Many Republicans were wary of the optics of an impeachment vote weeks from an election and in the absence of an agreement on how to fund the government or provide additional funds to combat the spread of the Zika. Some lawmakers have also raised concerns that pursuing impeachment in this case would lower the bar …