GOP fractures further as House freedom caucus aims to impeach IRS head

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Gop Fractures Further As House Freedom Caucus Aims to Impeach IRS Head

The already fractured GOP is growing even more divided. The ultra-right wing House Freedom Caucus is revolting against Speaker of the House Paul Ryan by pushing to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

SEE ALSO: Leading US House conservative wants IRS chief impeached

This all stems from a scandal in which IRS officials singled out conservative groups seeking tax exempt status for extra scrutiny. That investigation is over, but some conservatives think Koskinen deleted emails relating to that investigation then lied about it.

Now, those groups are out for blood. Members of the House Freedom Caucus are threatening to file a privileged resolution, which would force a floor vote and leapfrog Ryan's ability to determine which bills hit the House floor.

SEE MORE: Paul Ryan Urges GOP Unity But Remains Leery Of A Trump Alliance

More moderate Republicans don't want to fight this fight. First of all, there's not a lot of reason to think this is even a winnable case.

See images of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen:

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IRS Commissioner John Koskinen
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 2, 2015, before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee hearing examining the IRS data breach. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, before the Senate Finance Committee during a hearing to examine the Internal Revenue Service Operations and the President's proposed budget request for fiscal year 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen is sworn in before the House Oversight Committee as lawmakers continue their probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, June 23, 2014. The IRS asserts it can't produce emails from seven officials connected to the tea party investigation because of computer crashes, including the emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, right, shakes hands with House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., left, before the start of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs hearing, Wednesday, July 23, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington, investigating the IRS' targeting of conservative organizations. Koskinen was testifying before the committee. (AP Photo)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 02: I.R.S. Commissioner John Koskinen testifies before the Senate Finance Committee June 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on the topic of 'Internal Revenue Service Data Theft Affecting Taxpayer Information.' (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 17: The House Oversight and Government Reform's Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) (C) and ranking member Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) (L) hear testimony from Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen during a hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill September 17, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Oversight and Government Reform Committee continues to investigate the IRS for targeting political groups applying for tax-exempt status for intensive scrutiny based on their names or political themes. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JULY 31: Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen speaks to the media during a visit to the Miami office at the Claude Pepper Federal Building on July 31, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Mr. Koskinen is touring several IRS offices since he became head of the nation's tax agency. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Rep. John Fleming, who filed the motion to impeach Koskinen, says that there's no credible link proving the commissioner destroyed evidence, saying, "I don't know whether he was connected to that, but he certainly allowed it to happen."

And even if it were winnable, some lawmakers think this case sets a precedent for impeaching officials over relatively minor infractions.

Republican Tom Reed said, "I don't think going down the road to impeachment is the appropriate step to take ... you're talking about high crimes and treason here."

The privileged resolution also precludes Koskinen from getting a chance to defend himself — another precedent many aren't willing to set.

Some have speculated this is just a political tactic to push the GOP leadership even further to the right. If Ryan declines to start impeachment proceedings, he and anyone who agrees with him could be accused of sympathizing with the IRS.

Even if the House does decide to vote on this issue, it's headed for a seven-week recess and won't be back in session until September.

SEE ALSO: GOP Freedom Caucus Members

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