Paul Ryan said Wednesday that the House will vote on whether to impeach Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, and he indicated members won’t be pressured to vote one way or the other.
The entire House Republican conference is to meet behind closed doors next week to discuss the issue, but conservatives led by Representative John Fleming of Louisiana say the process of introducing a “privileged resolution” to force the vote will begin before that.
Ryan, who was previously hedged on whether the House should take such action, said on Wednesday that he won’t stop it. The House hasn’t impeached a cabinet official since the mid-1870s and has never impeached an executive branch official, such as Koskinen, who doesn’t hold cabinet rank. Any House action would be largely symbolic, because the effort is expected to be blocked in the Senate if it passes the House.
The IRS is refusing to recant the targeting criteria it used to single out tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny, according to court filings made public Wednesday that show the tax agency still struggling with the fallout from the scandal.
At least three tea party groups are still awaiting approval from the IRS more than three years after agents publicly admitted they’d asked inappropriate questions and put the groups through unreasonable delays in obtaining tax-exempt status.
Last month the IRS told both Congress and a federal judge that it would start processing the outstanding applications – but the agency has refused to say how or when, leaving the groups themselves struggling to make sense of things.
Making matters even more difficult, the IRS specifically refused in court papers to reject further use of the criteria it used to single out tea party and conservative groups in the first place.
“Despite all the representations made by the IRS about having changed its ways, it still asserts that the viewpoint-based Targeting Criteria are relevant for making a determination of tax-exempt status,” Edward Greim, the lawyer representing tea party groups in a class-action lawsuit, told the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.