Chaffetz calls for Obama to fire IRS chief

Story highlights

  • The call from the top House Republican comes after Koskinen has sparred with GOP lawmakers
  • Obama tapped Koskinen, a government veteran and the former CEO of home loan giant Freddie Mac, to lead the agency in 2013

Washington (CNN)The chairman of the House's government oversight committee on Monday called on President Barack Obama to fire IRS chief John Koskinen, less than two years after the Senate confirmed him to lead the agency.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, announced at a Monday press conference that his committee has asked the President to remove Koskinen from office. He accused the IRS commissioner of misleading Congress and failing to cooperate with the congressional investigation into the IRS's alleged targeting of conservative groups under the tenure of Koskinen's predecessor, Steven Miller.
"Mr. Koskinen failed to testify truthfully. The statements that he made to Congress were false," Chaffetz said Monday. "It is imperative that this committee pursue all constitutional remedies. That may include contempt and it even may include impeachment of Mr. Koskinen."
    In a 29-page letter to Obama that included transcripts of Koskinen and other IRS officials' hearings with his committee, Chaffetz wrote that Koskinen has "obstructed" Congressional investigations into the IRS.
    "His obstruction takes the form of failure to comply with a congressional subpoena, failure to testify truthfully, and failure to preserve and produce up to 24,000 emails relevant to the investigation," Chaffetz wrote to Obama.
    The call from the top House Republican comes after Koskinen has sparred with GOP lawmakers in repeated congressional hearings -- notably during a hearing last summer, when Koskinen sniped back at the lawmakers that he was not there "to play games" and insisting he never promised emails that had previously been deleted, though he would be happy to know "if you have a magical way for me to do that."
    The GOP's ire stems mainly from the deletion of thousands of emails belonging to Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of allegations that the agency targeted tea party groups applying for non-profit status.
    The loss of those emails preceded Koskinen's testimony under oath that "every email has been preserved" and that "nothing has been lost" or "destroyed."
    Obama tapped Koskinen, a government veteran and the former CEO of home loan giant Freddie Mac, to lead the agency in 2013 after the fallout from the targeting scandal.
    The top Democrat on Chaffetz's committee, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, said in a statement that Chaffetz's call was part of a "manufactured Republican political crisis."
    "The bottom line is that the Inspector General found no evidence to back up Republican claims of political motivation, White House involvement, or intentional destruction of evidence," Cummings said. "Calls for Commissioner Koskinen to step down are nothing more than a manufactured Republican political crisis based on allegations that have already been debunked."