But the GOP can’t be content merely to have the House impeach Koskinen. (Democrats in the Senate, whose campaigns are underwritten by federal employee unions, will likely impede any effort to unseat the IRS head.) The House already held Eric Holder, then attorney general, in contempt for lying and withholding records in the Fast and Furious gunrunning investigation, and that had no salutary effect on conduct. It shouldn’t take impeachment proceedings to fire a federal employee, and yet that’s almost the only recourse. 

In 2013, Cory Gardner—in the House at the time, now a senator—proposed legislation (HR 2679) that would exclude the Internal Revenue Service from the relevant and onerous federal labor-management-relations statutes that make accountability impossible. The GOP should pass and expand that bill to include the VA and the Drug Enforcement Administration and otherwise assure all two million federal employees that if they abuse their power or don’t do their job they will be fired. 

But even this is only a starting point. Democrats have long understood personnel is policy. For decades, the administrative state has continued to extend its reach. So long as the people enforcing our laws and regulations are union liberals with broad immunity, the rule of law will depend on those individuals’ views and choices.