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House GOP mad that favorite whipping boy still on job at IRS

STEPHEN OHLEMACHER
FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2016 file photo, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. House Republicans are unhappy that their favorite whipping boy is still in charge of the IRS. On Wednesday, April 5, 2107, they asked President Donald Trump to do something about it. Fifteen Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee sent Trump a letter asking him to fire IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unhappy that their favorite whipping boy is still in charge of the IRS, House Republicans asked President Donald Trump on Wednesday to fire Commissioner John Koskinen.

Fifteen Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee sent Trump a letter asking him to can Koskinen. They said trust in the IRS has hit rock bottom and that under Koskinen, the IRS destroyed evidence when Congress was investigating the tax agency for inappropriately singling out conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

"He also misled Congress in the process, intentionally degraded customer service at the agency, and has since lost the trust of the American people," the committee members wrote.

The scandal over conservative groups happened before Koskinen became commissioner. President Barack Obama appointed Koskinen in the aftermath, and his five-year term ends in November.

Nevertheless, House Republicans began attacking Koskinen shortly after he took office. They hauled him before congressional panels dozens of times — sometimes just to berate him. They complained that he was slow to comply with their requests for information.

Through it all, Koskinen maintained that the IRS was doing all it could to help lawmakers in their multiple investigations, even as the agency discovered troves lost emails from a key official in the investigation.

Before the letter was made public, Koskinen told reporters Wednesday that no one in the Trump administration has talked to him about leaving.

"I still cheerily am managing the place," Koskinen said. "I turn into a pumpkin in November."

In response to the letter, the IRS issued a statement saying that Koskinen is focused on completing a successful tax filing season and protecting the agency from cyberattacks.

"The IRS is seeing one of its smoothest tax seasons in years, with more than 93 million tax returns filed so far this year, with 74 million refunds being issued to the nation's taxpayers," the agency said.?

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