Clouds fill the sky in front of the U.S. Capitol on October 7, 2013 in Washington, DC.
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A case study in how not to impeach someone

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) launched a curious fundraising pitch this week. As part of his drive for cash, the far-right congressman, who’s also currently running for the U.S. Senate, posted an appeal this week with an all-caps headline that read, “Impeach the IRS Commissioner.”
 
DeSantis’ pitch added, “IRS Commissioner John Koskinen needs to go! His conduct – the destruction of key emails, false testimony before Congress, and failure to produce emails – violated the public trust, and he must be impeached! Sign the petition if you agree!”
 
The text stood alongside a box labeled “Contribute.”
 
For now, let’s overlook the fact that, in reality, Koskinen didn’t do what the congressman says he did. Let’s also look past the overuse of exclamation points. Instead let’s focus on the most glaring problem of all: as Politico reported, DeSantis is fundraising off the impeachment scheme, despite recently having been “tapped to lead the IRS impeachment hearings.”
Although many congressional investigators at least try to give the impression that their probes are not politically motivated, DeSantis seems to have little reservation about mixing his Senate run with a politically explosive action like impeaching the head of a major federal agency.
 
Privately, a number of Republicans said it’s cause for concern. “You don’t fundraise off investigations,” quipped one member who declined to go on-record criticizing a colleague.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who isn’t exactly known for his restraint and commitment to propriety, told Politico, “We never fundraised on our investigations.”
 
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) added, “If you’re going to be a phony, at least try to act sincere about it. He’s not even pretending to be sincere about the substance of this process.”
 
Right. Some partisan hackery is expected – and in some cases, tolerable – but those responsible for the partisan hackery should at least try to keep up appearances. No one is going to believe that House Republicans are trying to impeach the IRS commissioner as part of a responsible, reasoned process, but DeSantis’ fundraising abandons all subtlety.
 
The brazen politicization is offensive, but what’s notable in this case is the far-right congressman’s indifference towards pretending.
 
As for yesterday’s impeachment hearing, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank was on hand for the show trial.
Everything Rep. Darrell Issa knows about impeachment he learned from Wikipedia.
 
At Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing to consider the impeachment of Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, Issa, the California Republican and dogged investigator of the Obama administration, confessed he was relying on an open-source website.
 
“You and I are not lawyers,” Issa told Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who was presenting the panel with the legal case for impeaching Koskinen, “so we’ll tax each other a little bit on a constitutional question. According to Wikipedia, at least, the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors constitutionally says it covers allegations of misconduct…”
 
Issa then questioned Chaffetz about each of the examples cited by Wikipedia contributors.
According to Milbank’s report, mid-way through the hearing, the room was three-quarters empty.
 
If Republicans aren’t going to take their own impeachment stunt seriously, why should anyone else?

Postscript: For more on the ridiculousness of this impeachment drive, take a look at our previous coverage.
 
 
 

House Republicans, Impeachment and IRS

A case study in how not to impeach someone