- Noted professor and sociologist Dr. Anne Hendershott claims IRS may have targeted her with a 2010 audit
- IRS demanded to know which groups paid her and seemed to want to know more about their backgrounds
- Hendershott believes her articles critical of President Barack Obama's policies and George Soros' funding of liberal Catholic groups may have spawned the IRS audit
- Audit was emotionally and financially expensive and scared the professor into silence
Dr. Anne Hendershot (Photo Credit: Franciscan University)
In the midst of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal, individuals and groups, alike, are continuing to come forward with ever-startling allegations. On Wednesday, Dr. Anne Hendershott, a devout Catholic and a noted sociologist, professor and author, exclusively told TheBlaze that she believes she may have been one of the IRS's targets.
According to Hendershott, the IRS audited her in 2010 and demanded to know who was paying her. While they did not ask directly it seemed as though the agent wanted to know about the leanings of these particular organizations.
It all started with a phone call she received at her home in May of that year -- a call during which Hendershott was told she would be audited. A letter that followed on May 19, 2010 solidified the IRS's request to meet her in person two months later in July. While IRS investigations are certainly not uncommon occurrences, the professor believes that the situation surrounding hers was more-than-curious.
"The IRS calls my house and says ... 'I just wanted to let you know that we're going to be auditing your business' and I said 'My businesses?' and he said, 'You know the expenses you take off for writing," the academic recalls.
Hendershott was surprised she was being audited on business grounds considering she does not operate an entrepreneurial endeavor in the traditional sense. In addition to her academic work, she told TheBlaze that she occasionally freelances for Catholic outlets and for the Wall Street Journal. But can this really be considered "business" activity?
"I don't make a lot of money from writing. In fact most years I don't show a profit," she told TheBlaze.
Hendershott said some of the outlets and organizations she has written for haven't paid her a cent.
But the circumstances surrounding the irregular nature of the experience don't end there. Hendershott noted it was particularly surprising that she, alone, was audited. Her husband, who brings in the vast majority of the family's income, was not included in the IRS's inquiry -- even though the Hendershotts always files jointly.
So when the agent explained that she would need to come alone and in person to discuss her "business" activity in July of 2010, the professor was perplexed.
"[The IRS agent] didn't even let me decide when it would be good for me ... He didn't want my husband to come," she said of the meeting, which was held at an IRS office in New Haven, Connecticut.
The process was a grueling one, including many questions that Hendershott felt were political in nature. Numerous records were requested before the in-person meeting, as well as during and after.
"Every question had to do with bank deposits we made. Every single question," she said. "What is this money? And I didn't know a lot of it. We had to go to our bank and get deposits back. We had to get records showing where the money came from."
While asking about the deposits, the agent wanted to know if the monies came from groups and, if so, more about who the organizations were.
The mention of groups, Hendershott notes, is particularly interesting, as she had been writing for numerous Catholic outlets and organizations at the time. In addition to Catholic World Report and the Catholic Advocate, she also penned op-eds for the Wall Street Journal. Many of these writings were critical of President Barack Obama and his policies.
And the plot thickens. Among the organizations she targeted in her writings were progressive groups highly supportive of Democratic causes, including: Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Catholics United, and Catholic Democrats.
At the time, one of the founders of Catholics United, Chris Korzen, had become a target of her work, as she exposed, in her view, his true leftist agenda and some of the complicated theological stances the left-of-center organizations he associated with were taking. Plus, there were alleged financial ties with billionaire liberal George Soros. Here's just two paragraphs from an article she wrote in March 2010, just months before her meeting with IRS officials:
On its website, Catholics United describes itself as a 501(c) (4) non-profit organization—eligible to accept donations. But, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good emerged in 2005 as a kind of sister organization to Catholics United. A 501(c) (3) organization, donors can claim a deduction against personal income tax when they donate money to Catholics in Alliance. Reviewing the 2007 IRS 990 forms for both Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United raises some questions, because Chris Korzen is listed as having received $84,821 in compensation for 40 hours per week from Catholics in Alliance on the group’s 990 Form—even though the Catholics United website claimed he was the director there during the same time period. [...]
Despite their inability to engage in extensive lobbying, Catholics in Alliance has been extremely successful in attracting large donors. Never a friend to the Catholic Church, George Soros, one of the earliest donors, contributed $50,000 to Catholics in Alliance in 2005 and another $100,000 in 2006 through his Open Society Institute. Likewise, Smith Bagley, a major Democratic donor and fundraiser, whose wife, Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, is Chairman of the Board of Catholics in Alliance, came close to matching Soros with grants from his family’s Arca Foundation. With a long history of supporting progressive organizations like ACORN, the Gamaliel Foundation, People for the American Way, and Planned Parenthood, Arca contributed $50,000 to Catholics in Alliance in 2007 and another $75,000 in 2008.
Hendershott can't help but wonder if her writings against progressive groups played a role in her audit. It's obvious that before she was notified by the IRS she was commenting regularly about matters of faith and politics and, in particular, Obamacare. While she doesn't have proof that the IRS investigation was political in nature, she has strong suspicions that it was.
"I started writing articles like crazy saying these are fake Catholic groups," she said of the aforementioned organizations, noting that Korzen would often target her work and rail against her assertions.
Hendershott noted that the progressive leader once called into a radio show she appeared on to challenge her contention that he had accepted Soros money.
"I had the tax return in front of me and read off the amounts that Chris Korzen was getting paid from Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good -- a Soros supported fake Catholic group," she told TheBlaze, noting that, through Catholics in Alliance, he had received $85,000.
While Korzen denied this on the air, Hendershott read from the 990 form in an effort to prove he wasn't telling the truth. This, she believes, may have sparked -- or played a role -- in spawning the IRS audit.
"He was getting paid by one organization and working for another," the professor said of Korzen. "The IRS should have gone after them."
Her writings for the Catholic Advocate soon ceased because, Hendershott admits, the IRS audit silenced her. If her suspicions are true, this may have been its chilling intention.
"I haven't written for them since the audit, because I was so scared," she said (records show her last article for the organization was on July 10, 2010 -- the same month the IRS audit unfolded).
So far, she has only shared her story with friends and those close to her, but in light of the recent IRS scandal, she has decided to speak out.
"It was clear they didn't like me criticizing the people who helped pass Obamacare," she said of the audit," later adding, "The IRS is very frightening."
In addition to creating stress and fear, Hendershott said that the experience came at a great emotional and financial expense for the family, noting that even after the audit the government sought more information from her.
"It was like they just couldn't find what they wanted because they wanted more and more and more," she said.
Read more about the overarching IRS scandal here.
Editor's Note: A correction was made to note that the IRS did not directly ask "what their politics were" in regards to the organizations Hendershott wrote for. Hendershott clarified the agent seemed to want more information about the groups' backgrounds.