No evidence will be found that President Barack Obama ever gave direct orders to the IRS to target conservatives, Republican operative Karl Rove says.
Still, he said, he holds Obama responsible for setting the tone that caused the tax-collecting agency to delay conservative groups and make them submit mountains of paperwork when applying for tax-exempt status.
Appearing on Fox News Channel on Monday, Rove said Obama made speeches during his 2010 re-election bid attacking tea party groups and saying such groups represent "a threat to democracy." That set a tone, he said, for the groups to be targeted.
And when the groups began complaining about unfair targeting in 2010, "if he was really exorcised about it," he should have had Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner look into and make sure it didn't happen again.
On the issue former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visiting the White House around 160 times, Rove, former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush said that although he saw Mark Everson regularly in the White House as Treasury secretary he showed up only once when he moved to the IRS.
"He shouldn't have been there that many times," Rove said. "This is an independent agency and being too close to the White House is a problem for the IRS."
Congress must ask for the White House logs showing who Shulman met with all those times, he said, but added that when that request is made, "Bet you a dime to a dollar … the White House is going to exert executive privilege."
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