House committee chairman moves to impeach IRS chief

No Criminal Prosecution in IRS Tea Party Case?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican chairman of a powerful House committee moved Tuesday to impeach the head of the Internal Revenue Service, saying he violated the public trust and obstructed congressional investigations into the treatment of conservative groups.

SEE MORE:Listen to the audio version of the top stories you need to know right now

Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen failed to comply with a congressional subpoena, allowed documents to be destroyed and misled the public. Chaffetz chairs the House Oversight Committee, which has been investigating the IRS for more than two years.

Chaffetz called impeachment an appropriate tool to restore public confidence in the IRS and "demonstrate to the American people that the IRS is under repair."

See images of the IRS scandal:

9 PHOTOS
IRS officials scandal, Lois Lerner
See Gallery
House committee chairman moves to impeach IRS chief
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05: Former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner exercises her Fifth Amendment right not to speak about the IRS targeting investigation before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee during a hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building March 5, 2014 in Washington, DC. Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) adjuourned after Lerner refused to answer questions about the investigation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) speaks during a markup session of the House Ways and Means Committee on Capitol Hill July 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee marked up House Resolution 645 which requests White House emails to former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner from 2009 to 2011. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa calls the start of a hearing with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen on 'IRS Obstruction: Lois Lerner's Missing E-Mails, Part I' on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 23, 2014. The hearing focused on the missing e-mails from the hard drive of former director of the IRS's Exempt Organizations Division Lois Lerner. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen appears before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on 'IRS Obstruction: Lois Lerner's Missing E-Mails, Part I' on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 23, 2014. The hearing focused on the missing e-mails from the hard drive of former director of the IRS's Exempt Organizations Division Lois Lerner. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Lois Lerner, former director of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division at the Internal Revenue Service(IRS), leaves following a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill March 5, 2014 in Washington, DC. Chairman Darrell Issa(R-CA) questioned Lerner, to see if the Internal Revenue Service has been targeting US citizens based on their political beliefs. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to testify. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05: Former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner (C) exercises her Fifth Amendment right not to speak about the IRS targeting investigation before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee during a hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building March 5, 2014 in Washington, DC. Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) adjuourned after Lerner refused to answer questions about the investigation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05: House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) appears on a television screen during a hearing about the IRS targeting investigation in the Rayburn House Office Building March 5, 2014 in Washington, DC. Issa adjuourned after former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner exercised her Fifth Amendment right not to speak about the IRS targeting scandal during the hearing. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) speaks after he and Chairman Darrell Issa, R-CA, butted heads during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill March 5, 2014 in Washington, DC. Issa questioned witness Lois Lerner, former director of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division at the Internal Revenue Service(IRS), during the hearing to see if the Internal Revenue Service has been targeting US citizens based on their political beliefs. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to testify. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) departs after adjourning a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill March 5, 2014 in Washington, DC. Issa questioned witness Lois Lerner, former director of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division at the Internal Revenue Service(IRS), during the hearing to see if the Internal Revenue Service has been targeting US citizens based on their political beliefs. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to testify. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The impeachment bid comes less than a week after the Justice Department said no IRS official will face criminal charges in the political controversy over the processing of applications by groups seeking tax-exempt status.

The decision closed a two-year investigation into accusations that stoked outrage among Republicans in Congress, who alleged bias in the tax agency's treatment of conservative and tea party groups in seeking the tax-exempt designation.

The Justice Department said it found no evidence that Lois Lerner or any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution. Lerner headed the division that processes applications for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections and has since retired.

In his impeachment resolution, Chaffetz said Koskinen violated the public trust in at least three ways: He failed to comply with a subpoena resulting in destruction of key evidence containing thousands of Lerner's emails; failed to testify truthfully to Congress about IRS handling of emails involving Lerner and other officials; and failed to notify Congress that key evidence was missing.

The IRS destroyed Lerner's emails in March 2014, but did not notify Congress that the emails were missing until June 2014 — four months later and well after the White House and the Treasury Department were notified, Chaffetz said.

SEE MORE:Feds probing videotaped arrest of disruptive student

The IRS said in a statement that the agency "vigorously disputes the allegations in the resolution. We have fully cooperated with all of the investigations."

Eighteen Republicans on the committee joined Chaffetz in co-sponsoring the impeachment resolution, which now goes to the House Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the oversight panel, called the impeachment effort "ridiculous," adding that, "just as in the Benghazi and Planned Parenthood investigations, it appears that facts simply don't matter to Republicans."

Cummings said there was "zero evidence" that Koskinen engaged in the wrongdoing alleged by Chaffetz. The IRS has spent $20 million and 160,000 employee-hours cooperating with the committee's "misguided investigation with no evidence of any political targeting," Cummings said.

More from AOL.com:
Cancer diagnosis brings income loss for families
How to watch Mars, Venus, and Jupiter come together in a rare close encounter this week
White House, Congress reach tentative budget deal
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.