Evidence suggests President Barack Obama was involved in IRS targeting of tea party groups, says David French, senior counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice.
"Look at the president's public statements, where he called citizens groups like these tea party groups threats to democracy, where he hinted that they were run by shadowy political operatives . . . [and then] follow what the IRS actually did," French told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"What the IRS did is it then began to ask questions of these tea party groups that were designed to answer the very question that the president of the United States was asking. Who's running you? Are there any political operatives behind you? Who's funding you?
"All of these kinds of questions, in particular the donor list and the lists and the references to associations you might have, such as what are your family members doing? [They] directly followed the president's public statements."
French said the president made the anti-tea party statements during a run-up to the 2010 election season.
"That is when the persecution really began to kick into a different level. That's when the entire issue was elevated," he said.
"The president's involvement is hiding in plain sight. It's his public statements vilifying these organizations and identifying exactly the questions he wanted answers to."
The American Center for Law and Justice is suing the government on behalf of tea party groups who say they were targeted.
"We expect that the government will try to dismiss this lawsuit . . . the government's probably going to come after this lawsuit with both barrels," he said.
"There's a lot of risk here for the IRS."
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