House panel to consider measure censuring IRS chief

WASHINGTON A Republican-controlled oversight committee in the U.S. House of Representatives announced on Monday that it will consider a measure censuring the head of the Internal Revenue Service on allegations related to scrutiny of conservative groups.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who is already facing a Republican-led impeachment effort, would be condemned for conduct inconsistent with “trust and confidence” under a measure due to come before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday.

Republicans, including the committee chairman, Jason Chaffetz of Utah, allege that Koskinen failed to comply with a House subpoena as lawmakers sought evidence that the agency targeted Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny. IRS actions came to light in early 2013, months before Koskinen arrived at the agency.

IRS officials had no immediate comment. Koskinen has denied any wrongdoing.

Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the oversight committee’s top Democrat, accused Republicans of leap-frogging over the House Judiciary Committee, which is holding its own hearings to determine whether Koskinen committed any wrongdoing.

Cummings said government investigators have found no evidence that the IRS targeted conservative groups or that Koskinen obstructed the House investigation.

The proposed censure legislation urges Koskinen’s removal from office and would require him to forfeit his pension and other federal benefits. Committee approval would send it to the floor for a vote by the full House.

Legal experts say a congressional censure would not pass constitutional muster if it imposed any penalty.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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