November 22, 2017
    Survey says: Impeachment not a remedy

    Thinking Aloud, by Ed Dalere


    It appears that the House Judiciary Committee is going to wait until June to decide what, if any action will be taken against the embattled IRS commissioner, John Koskinen. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz wants Koskinen impeached over how he handled his responses to Congress’ inquiry into what is known as the Lois Lerner affair. Let TRENDS refresh your memory: When Lerner was the IRS Exempt Organizations commissioner, several nonprofits were singled out for extra scrutiny and approval of their tax-exempt status was delayed (some still have not been approved, several years later). The groups and their supporters in Congress say it was by design because the groups were of a conservative political nature. The Justice Department, separately, ruled the IRS was not acting nefariously, but was incompetent due to reduced staff, and Lerner will not be charged with anything. The congressional inquiry is ongoing.

    When Koskinen took over as IRS commissioner, some things went awry in the agency’s response to Congress. “He had documents in their possession at the IRS that were under subpoena, and they failed to protect those, preserve those and provide those," Chaffetz, R-Utah, charged on Fox News. "When you get a subpoena, it's not optional. Imagine if the IRS sent you a summons, sent you a subpoena and you didn't provide it; you would go to jail."

    Chaffetz testified earlier this week before the Judiciary Committee to make his case for impeachment. Koskinen was not present because he said he did not have enough time to prepare.

    We asked what you think about the possible impeachment of Koskinen. Responses came down on both sides, but all against impeachment:

    - “It's personal retribution for Koskinen pointing out that an audit does not prevent (Republican presidential candidate Donald) Trump from releasing his tax returns. The hearings will give the Republicans a platform to dump on the IRS, and create a distraction for the media from Trump's decision not to release his returns.”

    - “Stupid.”

    - “The impeachment move reflects unresponsiveness on the part of the IRS re: email requests around the (c)3 applications from conservative nonprofits primarily. Of course there is a political side to this. My opinion is not providing all the emails when originally requested was a mistake. The question is why didn't they. No one really knows but it's troubling. Impeachment is probably a bridge too far.”

    - One response focused on what Congress did to the IRS and how it brought about the place where we are now: “The committee can't have it both ways. First they hamstring the IRS by cutting their budget so they can't provide essential services to taxpayers. Then they want to impeach the guy because the IRS couldn't provide essential services. No business in its right mind would cut the budget of the division that brings in all their revenue. But that is what the federal government has done to the IRS. It is being penny-wise and pound-foolish and costing itself billions of dollars. All because of what it perceives as political slights. This funding problem has been going on for six years so it is no surprise at the result is inadequate service. Maybe they should install some mirrors in the committee room to see where the fault lies.”

    The questions now are, do people still care? If so, will this affect the presidential election? Will impeachment be avoided? If not impeachement, than what? We wait for June. - EFD

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