Nancy Pelosi

J. Scott Applewhite | AP Photo

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The last nail in the coffin went in handily.

After Rep. Jim Jordan R-Ohio (A, 94%), Freedom Caucus’ outgoing chairman, invoked a privileged resolution on Tuesday to force an impeachment vote on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, the House voted 342-72 to refer the measure back to the Judiciary Committee, where it will gather dust for the indefinite future.

It was the last maneuver available to the House Freedom Caucus’s hopes of impeaching Koskinen, who they say has lied to Congress about the targeting of conservative groups.

Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Tim Huelskamp R-Kan. (A, 91%) posted an instructive timeline of events on Facebook, outlining just how GOP leaders worked with Democratic Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca. (F, 11%) to kill the impeachment effort:

“After learning of conservatives [sic] plans to force the House to take a recorded vote on the impeachment resolution, GOP leaders responded by making a deal with Nancy Pelosi to use a procedural gimmick to effectively kill the effort. The little-used ‘motion to refer’ sent the impeachment resolution back to committee where it is unlikely to ever see the light of day again.”

Instead of waiting for a vote on the privileged resolution on Thursday —when lawmakers intended to vote on it — Pelosi led the House Democrats in a move to table the motion. The move failed 180 to 235.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte R-Va. (D, 64%) then offered a motion to refer the resolution back to the Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over impeachment hearings. Privileged resolutions must be voted on within two days of being offered, but Pelosi’s move to table the motion on Tuesday ensured an even swifter end to the impeachment measure.

Freedom Caucus members believe that under Commissioner Koskinen’s watch, the IRS unlawfully targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status (as a continuation of former IRS official Lois Lerner’s policies).

They also believe Koskinen knew about the destruction of 422 backup records of Lerner’s emails during graveyard hours at an IRS office in Martinsburg, W.V. The emails were destroyed after Koskinen had put out notices to everyone in the agency not to destroy materials relevant to the Lerner investigation.

In September, shortly before the prolonged pre-election break, outgoing Freedom Caucus member Rep. John Fleming R-La. (B, 86%) introduced a privileged resolution to force a vote on Koskinen’s impeachment. A day later, the caucus made a deal with Republican leadership that they would postpone the vote until after Koskinen testified in front of the Judiciary Committee.

After Koskinen testified again before Congress, Rep. Huelskamp (another outgoing Freedom Caucus member) told Conservative Review that he anticipated a vote on the impeachment when the House reconvened after the election.

“There are plenty of folks around here on the Republican side that want to put this off and never [let it] happen,” Huelskamp told CR. “But I anticipate we’re going to have a vote here, and that’s the power of one to offer this privileged motion.”



This week’s defeat of the effort to impeach John Koskinen is the end of the line for the many Freedom Caucus members who’ve slaved away trying to do right by their constituents, for justice.

For Jordan, the failure to impeach John Koskinen is proof of a “double standard.” “It’s supposed to be equal treatment under the law,” Jordan said on Fox News after the vote, “No citizen could get away with this behavior, but somehow it’s okay for John Koskinen?”

For Huelskamp, who is merely weeks away from being a private citizen again, the lesson here is this: “Ultimately, only 72 conservatives stood up on the side of the American people and voted to hold Koskinen accountable. As a result, Congress has once again ceded power to the bureaucracy. Once again, Congress has refused to hold a member of the executive branch accountable to the rule of law. And once again, Congress has refused to do its job.”

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Maria Jeffrey is a correspondent with Conservative Review. Follow her on Twitter at @MariaTJeffrey

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