In Washington, House Republican leaders managed to prevent the impeachment of the head of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Commissioner John Koskinen.
The hearing on Wednesday, September 21 was the first in a series toward making Commissioner Koskinen the first official other than a judge or president to be impeached since 1876.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump should hope they discuss whether or not impeachment is a good idea for Koskinen as it may divert attention from his own, as yet to be disclosed, tax returns.
During the hearing, Democrats essentially took over when they got their chance to speak.
Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) pinpointed his agenda with a clear taunt when he addressed Koskinen with this:
“I have a few extra bags of Skittles and I’m going to share them with you and your staff so that after this reckless and bitter hearing you can get a small amount of sweet candy to improve the rest of your day.”
The stunt was an attempt to reinforce the ridiculous statement Donald Trump Jr. gave via Twitter with an analogy of Syrian refugees and Skittles. Although, it had nothing to do with Commissioner Koskinen’s possible impeachment.
What Democrats wanted to accomplish at the hearing was to raise the issue of the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s outright refusal to release his tax returns.
Commissioner Koskinen refused to get into any specifics when talking about Trump, however the Democrats got him to make the general point.
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) asked:
“Is there anything that would prohibit someone from releasing tax returns, if they want to, because they’re under audit?”
The answer from Commissioner Koskinen was:
Then Representative Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) got in to it with the commissioner. He asked this:
“Would releasing the person’s tax return during the audit in any way impact that pending audit of the return?”
Commissioner Koskinen replied:
“The release itself wouldn’t. The concern sometimes by taxpayers is that when the information is public there may be more information that will be discovered or provided.”
Deutch whole-heartedly agreed with this admission and said:
“That is the concern. We understand that is the concern.”
Smelling blood in the water, the Democrats went on to highlight some of the things that could prove troublesome for Trump if his tax returns were disclosed. For example:
- His actual income
- What he pays the government in taxes
- His actual net worth
- Records of his charitable donations
- His sources of income and where and who they come from
Rep. Gutierrez continued to badger Koskinen. He referred to Trump using the Trump Foundation funds to pay for legal expenses and to buy a portrait – of himself. Gutierrez asked this:
“Given that scenario, is that strictly speaking ― what’s the term ― legal?”
Koskinen did not go into anything specific, but said this about the basic law:
“Any tax-exempt organization cannot use its money to benefit anyone who’s closely associated with that organization.”
In other words, if someone did use their charity’s money for their own interests, that would be considered ‘self-dealing’ which is absolutely against the law.
Donald Trump’s taxes are his biggest downfall. When they are released publicly, (as they should be) that will be a very sour day for the Donald indeed.
Feature image of Commissioner John Koskinen via screenshot on YouTube.