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House Oversight Committee Votes To Censure IRS Chief

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The Republican-led house committee voted to censure IRS Commissioner John Koskinen after they accused him of hiding information from Congress and lying under oath during an investigation into whether the agency targeted nonprofit tea party organizations for political purposes.

"Mr. Koskinen failed to testify truthfully before Congress," said Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who accused Koskinen of using delay tactics and having IRS employees destroy email evidence, reported ABC News.

Koskinen had testified that the IRS kept records of emails related to the investigation but it turned out that those records were destroyed. Republicans then accused Koskinen of lying while Democrats said he simply misspoke and pointed out that a GOP-appointed watchdog did not find any evidence of the IRA targeting tea party groups.

"Your core accusation against Commissioner Koskinen is that he was deceitful, that he misled Congress. But you completely disregard the difference between a misstatement and a lie," said Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland. "You ignore the fact that Commissioner Koskinen testified before us based on what he knew at the time. You suggest this distinction does not matter, but it does."

The resolution to censure Koskinen passed the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee 23-15, strictly along party lines, reported the Wall Street Journal. The censure calls for Koskinen to resign and forfeit his government pension.

In November of 2015, the Department of Justice closed its investigation into wrongdoing by the IRS with no charges.

Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik said, according to CNN:

We found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution. We also found no evidence that any official involved in the handling of tax-exempt applications or IRS leadership attempted to obstruct justice. Based on the evidence developed in this investigation and the recommendation of experienced career prosecutors and supervising attorneys at the department, we are closing our investigation and will not seek any criminal charges.

Sources: ABC News, Wall Street Journal, CNN/ Photo credit: Shepard Smith/Twitter

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