IRS Commissioner John Koskinen gave a farewell news conference earlier this week and bluntly said Congress is to blame for many of the agency’s shortcomings because it failed to provide adequate funding.
“I don’t want anybody to say they weren’t warned,” Koskinen told reporters. “I have not been shy. I have been concerned with funding since I started. We didn’t have enough people anywhere. If the agency fails and people are looking for fault, they can look to Congress if there isn’t adequate funding. It is a question of fault. It is a question of responsibility. I am blaming Congress.”
Congressional Republicans have cut the IRS budget by nearly 20 percent since 2010, penalizing the agency in particular for improperly scrutinizing tax-exempt applications by conservative groups several years ago. Some Republican lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to impeach Koskinen, who wasn’t with the IRS during the targeting scandal but was accused of stonewalling Congress during a long congressional inquiry into the matter.
Koskinen’s term officially ends Nov. 12 but his last day on the job is today. President Trump has installed David Kautter, Treasury assistant secretary for tax policy, as acting commissioner of the IRS until a new commissioner is confirmed by the Senate. Trump said last week that he will announce his choice to head the IRS “very shortly.”