Blumenauer Calls Judiciary Committee Hearing on IRS Commissioner a ‘Shameful Display’
WASHINGTON, DC – Today on the House floor, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, condemned the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the threatened impeachment of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen as a “shameful display.”
Click here to watch Representative Blumenauer’s remarks. A full transcript is included below.
“Mr. Speaker, currently in the House Judiciary Committee, there is an unusual spectacle unfolding.
“Now, a number of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have made it a crusade, a war, against the IRS. They have cut staff, budgets, refused to help it collect money that is due and owed. They’ve made it easier for cheats to avoid their obligations.
“But this assault on the IRS Commissioner takes that war to a new low. I would invite anyone listening to this presentation right now to go to the internal channel in the House, number 42, or go to CSPAN.org to be able to watch it yourself. Walk down to room 2237 Rayburn, and watch this play out.
“I’ve had a chance to know John Koskinen, the IRS Commissioner, over the course of this last year, and I have come to respect and admire him. I would suggest to anybody who’s trying to put this in context, trying to understand the give and take, ‘Google’ Mr. Koskinen, and then ‘Google’ some of his fiercest critics who are going to be on display at the Judiciary Committee today.
“Which of his critics would you imagine to be entrusted with being the chair of the board of trustees for their prestigious university—should they have attended one? Mr. Koskinen was.
“Which of them would have been successful in business as a turn-around artist in some of the most difficult and challenging commercial transactions? Mr. Koskinen was.
“And then walk away from material and business success and volunteer for some of the most challenging jobs in business? Mr. Koskinen did.
“Which of these members of the Judiciary Committee that is attacking Mr. Koskinen would have been picked by a President of their own party to take some of the most challenging and difficult and important tasks? Mr. Koskinen was the ‘Y2K’ czar when we were concerned about what would happen in the year 2000 and the integrity of computer systems. Mr. Koskinen was administrator for the District of Columbia when that city was turned around.
“Which of them would have been asked by a President of the other party to step in and handle a major systemic challenge? The IRS Commissioner, a Democrat, was asked by the Bush Administration to step in and right the ship of Freddie Mac and the meltdown of the global economy.
“And he came back, volunteering for one of the most difficult tasks in government to try to deal with an IRS that has been underfunded, understaffed, while Congress makes its job almost impossible by making the tax code more complex each and every year. John Koskinen did.
“‘Google’ the people who are attacking him and see if any of them have accomplishments that are remotely equal to what this distinguished American did, has done, and continues to do.
“This is a shameful display. This gentleman is being attacked for things that predated his tenure—not high crimes, misdemeanors, and corruption, but because they don’t like what went on there, and they’re trying to find somebody to blame other than themselves.
“Look at what’s going on in the Judiciary Committee, ‘Google’ these people, evaluate for yourselves. The American people deserve better what is going on now. And certainly Mr. Koskinen does.”