Catholic Scholar: IRS Asked Who Paid Me to Write Anti-Obama Articles

Catholic Scholar: IRS Asked Who Paid Me to Write Anti-Obama Articles

Anne Hendershott, an eloquent opponent of the Obama administration, states that she has reason to believe she was targeted by the IRS for an audit following publications that were critical of President Obama and Catholics who supported him.

Aleteia, a Catholic publication, reports that Hendershott, a Catholic scholar, sociology professor at Franciscan University at Steubenville, Ohio, and columnist for the Wall St. Journal, may have been harassed by the IRS for specifically opposing the policies of the Obama administration.

“I have no proof of it being a political audit,” Hendershott said. “Only the curious circumstance surrounding it. My husband and I have been married for 39 years and never have been audited before. It was odd that [the agent] only wanted to talk with me–although he said I could bring our tax accountant… All of the questions focused on who was paying me for the articles.”

Hendershott’s 2010 audit took place in the New Haven, Connecticut IRS office. She said the IRS agent was “very inquisitive” and that she had the impression “that he was looking for a reason that I was writing for money, where, you know, Catholics tend not to do that.” 

“He kept asking me who was paying me: ‘Who paid you to write this one?’ and ‘What did you get paid for that?'” she claimed.

A lighter moment during her conversation with the IRS agent came when he said he wanted to know about a $12,000 check she had deposited into her account.

“Actually, that was from you guys,” Hendershott told the agent. “It was a refund.”

Hendershott said she felt so intimidated by the IRS agent that she stopped writing on some topics she believed may have triggered the call from the agency in order to avoid placing her family in a difficult position.

Dianne Besunder, IRS spokeswoman for Connecticut, told Aleteia, “The IRS is prohibited by law from discussing any taxpayer or organization’s tax situation.”

Hendershott said the IRS agent “wanted to go back a couple of years [and examine] every deposit I made in our checking account.”

Though none of the specific topics of her writing came up during the audit conversation, Hendershott said she received the call from the IRS agent a couple of months after she had written about a connection between groups like Catholics United, Catholics in Alliance, the Service Employees International Union, and the community organizing group ACORN.

Hendershott said that Chris Korzen of Catholics United called in to a radio show on which she was discussing her story and “denied everything I was saying about his organization and said I was lying.” Hendershott claimed, however, that she had “all the tax records in front of me. I could cite the [IRS form for non-profit organizations] 990 that he was paid $84,900 by Catholics in Alliance, which is a Soros group.”

Carl Olson, editor of Catholic World Report, said Hendershott published several articles that may have drawn the attention of the Obama administration. Olson said that “as we learn more about how the IRS has pinpointed hundreds (nearly 500, at last count) of groups that can be generally described as ‘conservative’ in nature, [Hendershott’s] suspicions are understandable.”

“That the IRS would be used in any way for political gain, leverage, or intimidation is very disturbing, regardless of one’s political or religious convictions,” Olson added.