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11.14.2015

Attorney William R. Cowden Comments on Push to Impeach IRS Commissioner

Written by: Federal Practice Group
Written by: Federal Practice Group

News & Media

The push to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has made waves that could extend well beyond the federal agency. The move, ignited by a resolution introduced on October, 27 by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and 18 committee members, isn’t expected to go far initially. However, many believe the call for impeachment could mean big things for the IRS and future commissioners.

Attorney William R. Cowden of the Federal Practice Group recently commented on the movement on Federal News Radio. Sharing his insight as a federal employment lawyer and former Justice Department senior trial attorney, Attorney Cowden discussed how even a push - despite the likelihood of success - can disrupt an entire agency and its ability to perform its business. Additionally, he touched on how impeachment or the threat of impeachment could impact the agency:

“If you’re not careful and you’re not judicious about when you’re using this threat and this impeachment authority, you’re going to end up with nobody who is competent and willing to serve in the U.S. government.”

The articles of impeachment - which allege Koskinen’s false misleading statements during testimony, and failure to act with competence when overseeing the IRS investigation of the email and auto backlog scandal - will now be reviewed by a House Judiciary Committee. Should it clear a resolution, the House would need to vote for impeachment and the Senate would need a two-thirds majority to impeach Koskinen.

According to Attorney Cowden, this is not likely to happen, as the mistakes made by the IRS don’t necessarily constitute an issue of moral turpitude or something that makes Koskinen unfit for office. For example, as Mr. Cowden tells Federal News Radio, making an assumption that someone knew testimony was false because facts later showed it was inaccurate is not the same as saying somebody knew their testimony was false when they said it.

You can read the full article and Attorney Cowden’s comments here.

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