What happens when an administration refuses to hold its officials accountable for deceiving Congress? Eventually Congress starts looking for ways to hold them accountable directly. The Department of Justice has already made clear that it won’t enforce warrants issued by Congress, so Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) wants to use the tools the US Constitution provides. Jordan tells Steve Doocy this morning that he wants to impeach one such official, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, for ongoing deceptions in the probe of political targeting by the tax-exempt review department (via Daniel Halper):
Perhaps this is more of a question of priorities, but why start with Koskinen? The IRS chief has certainly angered people with his special blend of arrogance and incompetence, but he wasn’t at the IRS when the abuses took place. Koskinen got appointed in the wake of some rare head-rolling at IRS after the exposure of the political targeting of conservatives. Removing Koskinen — or at least making him the first example of Congressional power — seems out of place while James Clapper remains the Director of National Intelligence.
Clapper flat-out lied to Congress, and did so repeatedly, when asked about the nature of NSA’s operations. Clapper later even admitted he hadn’t told the whole truth, deliberately keeping critical information about executive-branch abuses from the oversight of the legislative branch. Those lies dealt with a much more bipartisan issue, and primarily angered Democrats ahead of Republicans at first, who certainly got more vocal about it after Edward Snowden began revealing the nature of NSA domestic trawling. Despite this, Barack Obama has not even hinted that he’d replace Clapper despite his obstruction of Congress and the serious damage done to both constitutional oversight and intelligence operations by Clapper’s actions (and inactions for that matter, when it comes to Snowden). That is by far the greater insult, and no one has yet attempted so much as a censure, let alone an impeachment.
Koskinen isn’t exactly small potatoes, but if Congress wants to flex its muscle, let’s start where the most damage has been done — and send a message that will ring louder and longer.