A faction of conservatives is circumventing leadership brass and calling directly on President Trump to tell IRS Chief John Koskinen, "You're fired."
Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., will make the ask. The chairman of the Republican Study Committee has quietly but urgently been circulating a letter inside the GOP conference to build support. He's now got 50 congressmen signed onto the letter.
While Trump has fleshed out his cabinet, so far, he's stayed hush about the fate of the IRS chief. And conservatives really want Koskinen's head. "You have the authority to remove Commissioner Koskinen," Walker writes to Trump, adding that "we encourage you to dismiss him in the most expedient manner practicable."
House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, first drew up impeachment articles against the taxman in October 2015. Since then, conservatives have accused Koskinen of interfering with a congressional investigation and abetting the of the continued targeting of conservative non-profits.
Walker's letter reintroduces that issue in the new 115th Congress, slamming the IRS for "improperly targeting conservative groups" and failing to "demonstrate that officials have definitively ceased targeting conservative groups." And he's building on last year's failed impeachment effort launched by the House Freedom Caucus.
"The consideration of the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in the House in late 2016 was a clear indication that Congress and the American people have no confidence in Commissioner Koskinen or his ability to discharge his duties," Walker writes.
But that episode is a distant memory now. Back then while the nation focused on the presidential election, the Freedom Caucus tried to force Ryan's hand. Struggling to keep his majority together, the speaker passed on the impeachment effort and pleaded with conservatives to wait on personnel changes at the tax bureau until after the election.
They didn't listen. On Dec. 5, Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, introduced a privileged resolution on the House floor that would've forced an impeachment vote. Without leadership's support, it failed.
Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong explained the opposition was born from a scheduling conflict. "It would have triggered automatic consideration lasting into next year," she said in a statement at the time, "filling up weeks of floor time and crippling our ability to hit the ground running on Trump administration confirmations and Obamacare repeal."
A month into 2017 and Republicans haven't repealed Obamacare and Koskinen still has his job. Walker's RSC is trying to convince Trump to change that. If he fails though, then Koskinen could stay at the IRS until Nov. 12, 2017.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.