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Cummings Condemns Republican Impeachment Resolution Against IRS Commissioner

Oct 27, 2015
Press Release

Cummings Condemns Republican Impeachment Resolution Against IRS Commissioner

 

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 27, 2015)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to the filing of a Republican impeachment resolution against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen:

“Just as in the Benghazi and Planned Parenthood investigations, it appears that facts simply don’t matter to Republicans.  There is zero evidence that Commissioner Koskinen engaged in these acts—to the contrary, the IRS has now spent $20 million and 160,000 employee hours cooperating with this misguided investigation with no evidence of any political targeting.  This ridiculous resolution will demonstrate nothing but the Republican obsession with diving into investigative rabbit holes that waste tens of millions of taxpayer dollars while having absolutely no positive impact on a single American.  Calling this resolution a ‘stunt’ or a ‘joke’ would be insulting to stunts and jokes.  Instead of squandering millions of taxpayer dollars on baseless partisan attacks, the Committee should focus on issues that matter to all Americans, like bringing down the costs of prescription drugs, as I have requested for the past year with no success.”

Contradicts Inspector General’s Findings:  On July 2, 2015, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration issued a Report of Investigation concluding:

  • “No evidence was uncovered that any IRS employees had been directed to destroy or hide information from Congress, the DOJ or TIGTA.”
  • “[T]he investigation did not uncover evidence that the IRS and its employees purposely erased the tapes in order to conceal responsive e-mails from the Congress, the DOJ and TIGTA.”
  • “Interviews of IRS employees … provided no evidence that the IRS employees involved intended to destroy data on the tapes or the hard drives in order to keep this information from Congress, the DOJ or TIGTA.”

$20 Million Price Tag:  The IRS reported on June 3, 2015, that it has spent nearly $20 million responding to requests relating to this investigation:  “More than 250 IRS employees have spent more than 160,000 hours working directly on complying with congressional investigations, at a cost of approximately $20 million.”  

No Evidence of Political Targeting:  Multiple investigations have now determined that there is no evidence that IRS employees targeted applicants for tax-exempt status for political reasons:

  • Department of Justice:  Just last Friday, the Department of Justice issued a letter stating: “We found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution.  We also found no evidence that any official involved in the handling of tax-exempt applications or IRS leadership attempted to obstruct justice.”
  • Inspector General:  The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has testified repeatedly that his office identified no evidence of any political targeting of conservative groups.  For example, during a May 22, 2013, hearing before the Oversight Committee, the Inspector General had this exchange:

Q:        Last week, you testified in front of the House Ways and Means Committee to the effect that from your looking into this matter, whether you call it an audit or an investigation, from your looking into this matter, you saw no evidence that IRS employees were politically motivated in their creation or use of the inappropriate screening criteria. Was that essentially your testimony?

A:        That we received no evidence during the course of our audit to that effect, yes, sir.

  • Oversight Committee:  More than two years ago—in June 2013—the Oversight Committee itself interviewed a self-proclaimed “conservative Republican” Screening Group Manager who worked at the IRS for 21 years as a civil servant and supervised a team of Screening Agents in the Cincinnati field office denied that he or anyone on his team was directed by the White House to target conservative groups applying for tax exempt status, or that their actions in screening tax-exempt applicants were politically motivated:

Q:        Do you have any reason to believe that anyone in the White House was involved in the decision to screen Tea Party cases?

A:        I have no reason to believe that.

Q:        Do you have any reason to believe that anyone in the White House was involved in the decision to centralize the review of Tea Party cases?

A:        I have no reason to believe that. …

Q:        In your opinion, was the decision to screen and centralize the review of Tea Party cases the targeting of the President’s political enemies?

A:        I do not believe that the screening of these cases had anything to do other than consistency and identifying issues that needed to have further development.

114th Congress