IRS Commissioner and Obama appointee John Koskinen refused to resign last week when, during a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) directly asked him whether he would submit his resignation. The resignation request was prompted, of course, by Koskinen’s history of discrimination of conservative non-profit organizations.
However, Congressional Republicans have announced a new strategy that may cause the despised and partisan IRS head to reconsider.
According to a report by the Washington Free Beacon:
House Republicans Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas) wrote a letter to the Department of Justice urging the agency to investigate evidence regarding Lois Lerner’s misconduct in the IRS targeting scandal after the Obama administration refused to hold anyone accountable.
The IRS began targeting conservative and tea party groups’ applications for tax-exempt status based on their political ideology in 2010 and delayed their approval before the 2012 presidential election. Some groups are still waiting for their status to be approved.
The Department of Justice is now headed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who should prove far more open an investigation into the egregiously partisan harassment tactics of the IRS during the years of Barack Obama’s presidency. Under Obama’s leadership, federal agencies were effectively weaponized and used against people and groups with dissenting political views.
Per the Washington Free Beacon report:
Lois Lerner, who headed the tax-exempt status division of the IRS at the time, confessed in 2013 at an American Bar Association meeting that conservative groups were targeted on political beliefs, but blamed low-level employees for the targeting. That same month, Lerner pleaded the fifth at the Oversight and Government Reform House committee.
Now, GOP Representatives Roskam and Brady have sent a letter that urges the DoJ to investigate Lerner’s misconduct and the Obama administration’s cover-up of the IRS scandal.
Lois Lerner famously pled the 5th to avoid self-incrimination, and the House Ways and Means Committee forwarded a letter to DoJ in 2014 recommending criminal prosecution. Surprising to absolutely no one, Obama stated that there was absolutely no corruption at the IRS, and the following year Obama’s DoJ announced that no criminal charges would follow against Lerner or anyone else at the IRS.
It appeared that justice would not prevail, and naked partisanship by the Obama administration and the IRS would prevail.
Hopefully, pressure now on IRS Director Koskinen will result in his resignation. With Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch little more than bad memories, Republicans have reason for optimism.