Politics

Dems May Seize On Vague GOP Approach To Ouster Of IRS Head

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When — or if — embattled IRS Commissioner John Koskinen appears before the House Committee on the Judiciary Wednesday, he will likely do so voluntarily for a non-impeachment quasi-disciplinary hearing.

The House Judiciary Committee hasn’t publicly issued a subpoena for Koskinen’s appearance, and is describing the Wednesday hearing as the third “misconduct” hearing “to examine the allegations of misconduct and articles of impeachment filed against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.” Arguing that he misled Congress and allowed the IRS to delete thousands of Lois Lerner emails in the wake of the conservative targeting scandal, the House Freedom Caucus has been trying to impeach Koskinen for months.

But it’s unclear how this hearing differs from the two misconduct hearings the committee held in May, which the committee — as Democrats were quick to point out — also did not label “impeachment hearings.” Committee members expect Koskinen to appear this time. (RELATED: Congress Spars: IRS Commissioner’s Impeachment Going Nowhere Fast)

The scheduled hearing is a compromise between House Freedom Caucus members and GOP leadership, who are reluctant to oust the IRS head. GOP leadership opted for that deal after Louisiana Republican Rep. John Fleming introduced a resolution Tuesday that would have forced the House to take a vote on impeaching Koskinen within two legislative days.

But if Koskinen fails to appear — especially if he fails to appear and was never subpoenaed — House conservatives will force a vote on his impeachment, Fleming told The Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday.

“If they don’t follow through on the agreement, then we’ll do this immediately,” Fleming told TheDCNF.

“Look, they’re already out there on record as having agreed to this, so I think it would be embarrassing if they didn’t follow through,” he added.

Fleming said he considers the Wednesday hearing to be an official impeachment hearing, but the House will probably run out of time to take a vote on Koskinen before November’s election.

A House Judiciary Committee hearing is only the first step in an impeachment process. Impeachment requires approval from the House, followed by a trial in the Senate.

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