At risk of angering their constituents with action or inaction, House Republicans are reportedly wary of pushing forward efforts to impeach Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen amid a highly contentious election season.
Koskinen, who was confirmed by the Senate in 2013, has faced sharp criticism both for how the IRS has handled sensitive data and for the agency’s scandal involving targeting of tea party groups well before the former Freddie Mac executive took office. At the time, the charges were considered serious, and top IRS officials involved in the tea party controversy resigned, but no charges were ever brought by the Justice Department.
With under two months to go until the November presidential and congressional elections, House Republicans are unsure how to approach impeaching Koskinen, which would satisfy many of their hardline supporters but is likely to fail and could leave them exposed when voters head to the ballots, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
Those in favor of the impeachment reportedly plan to force a vote to the House floor as early as next week, while some House Republicans want to hold private meetings to find a solution.
“I’m not in favor of jumping ship and saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got to do this right away,’ ” Rep. Mike Kelly (R. Pa.) told the Wall Street Journal. “Looking good back home sometimes takes front and center stage over doing what you’re supposed to do.”
The House has voted to impeach a federal official only 19 times and only eight times has the effort resulted in a conviction, all of them federal judges, the Associated Press reported.
"If you were to impeach and dump this right into the Senate, throw it in their hands right before a very contentious election, is that something they want to deal with right now?" Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa. told the AP.