House Republicans derail impeachment effort against IRS commissioner

Republican leaders managed to derail impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on Tuesday, forcing the debate back to a committee for more study, where it will die when Congress adjourns at the end of this year.

It was a quiet end to a saga that had bedeviled GOP leaders for more than a year, dating back to revelations that Mr. Koskinen misled a congressional investigation looking into the tea party-targeting scandal and former IRS senior executive Lois G. Lerner’s lost emails.

Conservatives had been agitating for impeachment, saying Mr. Koskinen should be punished for defying a subpoena and providing inaccurate information.

Some Republicans sought a lesser penalty, such as censure, while Democrats said the entire impeachment drive was misdirected. Those two sides joined forces Tuesday in a 342-72 vote that sent the debate back to the Judiciary Committee.

“Members have different opinions about what to do,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the committee, as he asked lawmakers to give him a chance to sort things out.