By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, July 27, US Representative Gary Palmer (R-Alabama) announced that he was joining his fellow members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in calling for President Obama to remove IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
Congressman Palmer said in a statement, “Mr. Koskinen has repeatedly provided misleading testimony to Congress and has failed to comply with a Congressional subpoena. This behavior is unacceptable, particularly for someone in such a powerful position.”
Rep. Palmer’s office alleges that Mr. Koskinen repeatedly gave misleading and false testimony to Congress and failed to preserve evidence related to the troubling scandal where various conservative non-profit organizations were targeted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for exercising their right to freedom of speech.
One of those people allegedly targeted by the IRS was Wetumpka Tea Party organizer Becky Gerritson. Gerritson said in a column in the Alabama Political Reporter on June 29, “The probability of all of these events happening by chance is astronomical. So I asked myself, Is this just incompetence or is it obstruction of justice? These IRS officials have worked for the government for years and many are making six figures; I just can’t believe they are that stupid. For example, when the order was issued to not delete, wipe clean, erase, etc. any of Lerner’s electronic communications, these managers later told investigators that they weren’t sure if it also meant backup tapes (even though the order included in its detailed instructions the words, backup tapes). So after discussion, or collusion, between themselves they decided it didn’t mean backup tapes – so they were ‘degaussed’ or ‘Lernerized.’ HELLO! REALLY? To me, that is clearly intentional. Who in their right mind would believe this was accidental? An even if it was accidental, they were legally bound with protecting those emails and tampering with or destroying them is still a violation of the law. If you ‘accidentally’ run a stop sign and crash into another vehicle, you can bet you will still be charged with a violation and be liable for the damages! As a casualty of the IRS targeting of conservatives, I am infuriated that no one has yet been held accountable.”
According to Palmer’s office, “Mr. Koskinen testified before Congress that the IRS had gone to great lengths and had spent a significant amount of money to preserve and produce all of former IRS Commissioner Lois Learner’s emails. However, further investigation has shown that the IRS had only examined Ms. Learner’s crashed hard drive, and did not examine her blackberry or laptop; nor had the IRS examined email servers or backup tapes. The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found 744 backup tapes, some containing missing emails from Ms. Learner, in just 15 days. These tapes lead to over 1000 unique emails being recovered, and revealed that there could be up to 24,000 additional missing emails. Commissioner Koskinen also failed to preserve tapes that included back-ups of Ms. Learner’s emails, even though these emails were subject to a Congressional subpoena. Backup tapes, which had been subpoenaed in August 2013, were destroyed in March, 2014 under his watch. Mr. Koskinen promised that the IRS would produce all of Ms. Learner’s emails, yet he failed to inform Congress that many of them were missing and withheld this information for approximately four months.”
The Chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told reporters, “Mr. Koskinen failed to testify truthfully. The statements that he made to Congress were false. It is imperative that this committee pursue all constitutional remedies. That may include contempt and it even may include impeachment of Mr. Koskinen.”
Congressman Gary Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.