House Repub­li­cans de­mand that Trump dis­miss Kosk­i­nen

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - — Stephen Dinan

Congress’ top tax ex­pert led Repub­li­cans on Wed­nes­day in de­mand­ing Pres­i­dent Trump fire IRS Com­mis­sioner John Kosk­i­nen, say­ing the agency can’t be re­paired as long as he’s at the helm.

“Trust in the IRS is hit­ting rock-bot­tom,” the Repub­li­cans, led by Rep. Kevin Brady, chair­man of the House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee, said in a let­ter call­ing on Mr. Trump to take ac­tion.

The 15 com­mit­tee Repub­li­cans said not only did the IRS de­stroy ev­i­dence from key fig­ure Lois G. Lerner’s com­puter in the tea party-tar­get­ing probe, but the agency also “in­ten­tion­ally” made the tax ex­pe­ri­ence painful for cus­tomers in or­der to make a po­lit­i­cal point to the GOP.

The Repub­li­cans said Mr. Kosk­i­nen, who was made com­mis­sioner in 2013 and charged with clean­ing up the agency, has shown he can’t do it.

Mr. Kosk­i­nen’s term is set to ex­pire in Novem­ber, but the Repub­li­cans said Mr. Trump can’t wait that long to oust him — par­tic­u­larly while Congress is try­ing to re­write the tax code.

“He has been dis­hon­est with Congress, and the IRS — un­der his watch — has con­tin­u­ously vi­o­lated tax­payer rights. He has to go,” Mr. Brady said. “We have a once-in-a-gen­er­a­tion op­por­tu­nity for pro-growth tax re­form, and we need a will­ing part­ner at the IRS to im­ple­ment it. That part­ner is not John Kosk­i­nen.”

Mr. Kosk­i­nen has sur­vived a GOP at­tempt to im­peach him, and has de­fended his ten­ure. He said he didn’t in­tend for any of Ms. Lerner’s emails to be lost, didn’t in­tend to mis­lead Congress over the fi­asco, and blamed his agency’s abysmal cus­tomer ser­vice on law­mak­ers, who he said short­changed his bud­get.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Repub­li­cans want Pres­i­dent Trump to fire IRS Com­mis­sioner John Kosk­i­nen, say­ing the agency, haunted by the tea par­ty­tar­get­ing scan­dal, can­not be fixed with him at the helm.

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