House conservatives are making the case for the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen ahead of Thursday’s debate, and one of them is also blasting Republican leaders for failing to hold Obama administration official accountable for anything and even being “afraid” of the administration.
On Tuesday, Reps. John Fleming, R-La., and Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., introduced a privileged resolution on the impeachment of Koskinen. A privileged resolution requires a floor vote and is not subject to the scheduling priorities of House leaders.
Huelskamp told WND and Radio America the case for Koskinen’s ouster is open and shut.
“Back in 2012, the IRS was misused, particularly by Lois Lerner and perhaps others above her,” he said. “They targeted political opponents and targeted them through misuse of the IRS. In response to that, the president appointed a new commissioner who promised to clean up the mess, but he made it worse.
“Mr. Koskinen came in and then covered up the mess, hindered the investigation. He oversaw the the deletion of perhaps thousands of emails, perjured himself, lied to Congress and the American public. At the end of the day, I believe these are reasons he should lose his job. If we’re going to get the federal government under control, no one should be above the law, particularly the IRS commissioner.”
Furthermore, Huelskamp said the average U.S. citizen could not get away with breaking the law, destroying evidence and refusing to appear before government officials without penalty, and neither should Koskinen.
“Someone in the administration came and lied to Congress and covered up the investigation that was going on internally in the IRS and oversaw the deletion of 422 tapes, up to 24,000 emails. As George Will pointed out, if Congress doesn’t take this head-on, they are becoming obsolete,” he said.
Huelskamp suspects Republicans leaders are cool to this idea because they don’t want to create any red-meat issues just prior to Election Day, but the congressman said not supporting the impeachment leaves members with tough questions to answer back home.
“I think it will be very difficult, particularly for Republican members of Congress, to go home and tell their constituents, ‘Yeah, you can lie to Congress. It’s OK. You can delete 24,000 emails. That’s OK.’ I think that’s a pretty hollow argument to go home to,” Huelskamp said.
“If they vote against it, they’ll probably go home and say, ‘Well, we voted to censure the guy, but it’s OK. He’s going to get off scot-free.”
Huelskamp does expect GOP leaders to make some parliamentary maneuvers to prevent passage of the impeachment articles but approve something that gives members cover back home.
“Our leadership might try some funny stuff on the floor trying to get away from a straight up-or-down vote,” he said.
In speaking with different members, Huelskamp admits it will tough to find a majority to back impeachment. He said the vast majority of Democrats will defend the administration, and many Republicans outside of leadership would rather not deal with this.
“Many of them are secretly asking leadership to table the motion or somehow create an alternative vote that somehow gives them a screen,” Huelskamp said. “At the end of the day, we should have a straight up-or-down vote, and you’re either for the IRS or you’re for the American people.”
Huelskamp said GOP leaders have not stated why they don’t want this resolution to go forward, but he said six years of observing his own party’s leadership leads him to some conclusions.
“Typical Republicans in Washington, and leadership in particular, are just afraid to take on the administration, afraid to take on the issues of the day,” he said. “They’d much rather get home to campaign than actually tackle the tough issues.”
He said the disinterest in holding Koskinen accountable is similar to leaders doing nothing about alleged perjury before Congress by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald and others.
“Time and time and time again, for seven-and-a-half years, Republicans have pointed out what they thought was corruption in the Obama administration and have done little or nothing about it,” Huelskamp said.
Huelskamp has clashed with Republican leaders for most of his six years in Washington, to the point of being stripped from a seat on the House Agriculture Committee and seeing GOP-aligned special interests spend $2 million to defeat him last month in his congressional primary.
As he prepares to leave Washington, Huelskamp said the Republican Party was in a position to accomplish major priorities over the past six years and failed to do much.
“Looking back, I believe the Republican establishment, particularly John Boehner and perhaps the current speaker (Rep. Paul Ryan), squandered an opportunity to turn this nation around,” said Huelskamp, referring to an ever-growing federal debt and America’s looking weaker on the world stage. He said voter frustration with GOP leaders in Washington is a critical reason for the rise of Donald Trump as the party’s 2016 nominee.
While the GOP may have succeeded in beating him at the ballot box, Huelskamp said it’s up to the American people to regain control of their government.
“It’s time we turn Washington back over to the control of the American people. Right now, it’s insiders of both parties,” Huelskamp said. “The Democrat and Republican establishments have a stranglehold on our nation. It’s time to shake them off and get back to our Founding Fathers and our Constitution.”