In the year prior to the 2012 presidential election, the Obama administration was rocked by the now infamous IRS scandal. Agents within the federal agency were ordered to abuse their powers to harass and extort as much information as possible from many conservative, tea party, Republican and Christian organizations applying for tax exempt status.
It was contended then and still now by some, that the IRS targeting was directed by Obama from the White House. In 2013 it was revealed that Douglas Shulman, the IRS Commissioner at the time of the targeting was by far the most frequent visitor to the White House from among Obama’s Cabinet.
In hearings before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, it was made known that 118 of Shulman’s 157 White House visits were made during the period that IRS agents were intentionally targeting tea party and conservatives. In fact, he visited the White House more times than the combined visits of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
The number of White House visits released to public records are as follows:
- IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman – 157
- Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank – 86
- Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez – 83
- Nominee for Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker – 76
- Attorney General Eric Holder – 62
- Secretary of State John Kerry – 49
- Former Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner – 48
- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – 43
- Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano – 34
- Secretary of the Department of Education Arne Duncan – 31
- Former Secretary of the Department of Energy Steven Chu – 22
- Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates – 17
If you look up Shulman, you will find him listed as serving a full term as IRS Commissioner before being replaced by John Koskinen. What is confusing is that an IRS Commissioner is supposed to serve a five-year term, yet Shulman served just over 4 years and seven months. Koskinen was sworn into office on December 23, 2013, which means his 5-year term won’t expire until December 2018.
Some have claimed that the IRS continues to target conservatives, but not as aggressively as they did before the scandal was made public. Koskinen never did say or do much to correct the damage done by the scandal, but he is an ardent Obama supporter.
A number of Republicans have begun wondering if or when President Trump will take action to remove Koskinen and replace him with someone of his own choosing. One of the more vocal advocates of Trump replacing Koskinen is Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Speaking about Koskinen, Goodlatte said:
“President Trump should fire Commissioner Koskinen and replace him with someone that will bring integrity and competence to the IRS.”
In 2016, there was a movement in the House to initiate impeachment proceedings against Koskinen, but they never materialized. Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), Chairman of the Republican Study Committee agrees with Goodlatte’s assessment of Koskinen and wrote:
“The consideration of the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in the House in late 2016 was a clear indication that Congress and the American people have no confidence in Commissioner Koskinen or his ability to discharge his duties.”
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) also wants to see Trump replace Koskinen. He recently met with Vice President Mike Pence and discussed the need to take action. He also issued a statement to the media, saying:
“The IRS will not be reformed under Koskinen’s leadership and I urge [Treasury] Secretary Mnuchin and President Trump to take action to replace Koskinen with someone willing to reform this troubled agency.”
Hopefully, Trump will take action soon and eliminate another Obama leftover and replace him with someone who will help him reform, restructure and change the IRS and who will work with Trump and Congress to revamp the Tax Code.