The Pigford Scandal
and farm subsidies in general

Scandal number N+1 is finally making the pages of the mainstream (newspaper) press.  The press has been reluctant to cover President Obama's previous scandals, [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27], but now that Barack H. Obama has been re-elected and is serving his final term (we certainly hope it is), the news media can return to the journalism business and pretend to know all about this dirty laundry.

This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2014 by Andrew K. Dart



Pigford II:
Eric Holder To Give Funds From DOJ's $16 Billion Settlement With Bank Of America To Radical Leftist Groups.  Judicial Watch first reported the scheme two years ago when Countrywide Financial Corporation doled out $335 million to settle its discrimination lawsuit with the feds.  The money was supposed to be distributed to more than 200,000 minority victims who supposedly were charged higher interest rates and fees than white borrowers based on their race not their credit.  Instead, a chunk of the money went to Democrat-tied groups not connected to the lawsuit, including the scandal-plagued Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the open-borders National Council of La Raza (NCLR).  Now many of the same groups will get more money from a record $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America.

Pigford: The Unexamined Obama Administration Scandal.  The underreported scandal referenced is generally identified as "Pigford."  Pigford's germination occurred in 1997 as a lawsuit (Pigford vs. Glickman) alleging that 91 African-American farmers were unfairly denied loans by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) due to racial discrimination which prevented the complainants from farming.  In 1999, the black farmers won their case.  Pigford has the distinction of being an out-of-control waste of taxpayer funds and/or a cynical attempt by the Obama administration to curry favor with certain minority groups to which neither President Obama nor Attorney General Eric Holder can plead ignorance of involvement.

Obama Is Every Bit as Bad as We Warned You.  The common thread in each of these scandals is corruption and a willingness to abuse the expanded powers of big government — while failing to carry out the most basic responsibilities of any government. [...] In Pigford, Obama pushed for additional billions in federal spending on fraudulent "reparations" processes that was abused in the name of real victims of racial discrimination — all so he could pay off key voting blocs.

How Did Progressive Journalists Get Pigford So Wrong?.  Did the people involved in Pigford and its successor lawsuits deserve credit for helping to compensate victims of discrimination?  Or blame for squandering many millions of dollars on false claims?  Did the Pigford settlements with black farmers establish a useful precedent that could be applied to Hispanic and female bias claims?  Or was it a cautionary tale of real discrimination being exploited by pandering politicians and hucksters trying to enrich themselves?

Obama's Pigford Scandal & Breitbart Was Right.  Turns out conservative crusader Andrew Breitbart was correct when he exposed a multibillion-dollar redistribution scheme to African-American farmers based on largely dubious claims of discrimination.

The Vindication (Again) of Andrew Breitbart.  Last Friday, conservative activist and media scourge Andrew Breitbart was posthumously vindicated.  Before he died in March 2012 of sudden heart failure, he had worked tirelessly to expose the horrific fraud that is Pigford.  For those who get their news only from the New York Times, the name "Pigford" would have sounded unfamiliar until last week, but only because Andrew's efforts to make the mainstream media cover the issue (as he had induced them to cover Weinergate) were cut short by his untimely death.

Uncle Sam's Mad 'Farmer' Giveaway.  Abraham Carpenter Jr., a farmer in Grady, Ark., has more insight into human nature than the average sociologist.  "Anytime you are going to throw money up in the air," he told The New York Times, "you are going to have people acting crazy."  Carpenter is quoted in an astonishing 5,000-word Times exposé on the federal government's wildly profligate program to compensate minority and women farmers for alleged discrimination.

Pigford Forever.  At the time of his premature death, the great provocateur Andrew Breitbart was more than a year into a grinding crusade to bring attention to a little-known class-action settlement called Pigford, which had begun with plausible accusations that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had discriminated against a small number of black farmers, but which had spiraled into a billion-dollar, open-ended government kickback machine for untold thousands that showed no signs of letting up.

New York Times: Breitbart Was Right On Pigford.  As other media outlets ignored the story, or in some cases accused Breitbart News of racism for covering the story, Breitbart continued to press the story and shed light on the real victims of the Pigford settlement:  The actual black farmers who really had been discriminated against and were outraged by the class-action suit.  Now, nearly three years later, the New York Times has published an extensive investigative report validating Breitbart's original reporting and going further, saying that the wide-spread abuse of the Pigford program could balloon the cost of the settlement from $1.2 billion tax-payer dollars to an astounding $4.4 billion.

NYTimes Confirms: Massive Fraud at USDA in Pigford; Breitbart Vindicated.  The New York Times reported Friday [4/26/2013] that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has likely enabled massive fraud in the Pigford series of legal settlements, in which black, Hispanic, female and Native American farmers have claimed to be victims of past discrimination.

Federal Spigot Flows as Farmers Claim Discrimination.  [Scroll down]  On the heels of the Supreme Court's ruling, interviews and records show, the Obama administration's political appointees at the Justice and Agriculture Departments engineered a stunning turnabout:  they committed $1.33 billion to compensate not just the 91 plaintiffs but thousands of Hispanic and female farmers who had never claimed bias in court. [...] What is more, some protested, the template for the deal — the $50,000 payouts to black farmers — had proved a magnet for fraud.

Pigford Scandal Finally Getting The Attention It Deserves.  The New York Times had an exhaustive piece late last week about the scandalous fraud in a federal program designed to right the wrong numerous African-American suffered by being denied federal farm aid.

A potential major scandal for Obama administration.  In a front-page investigatory report that ranges somewhere between troubling and devastating, the New York Times reported Friday on widespread abuse and fraud in a federal program designed to compensate black farmers who in the past had been denied access to federal farm aid because of their race.  According to the narrative laid out in the Times, the Obama administration contributed significantly to the problem and has a lot of work to do to correct it.  Depending on how forthrightly the administration reacts, the story has the makings of its first major political scandal.

Pigford payoffs.  Here is a key point which is not often understood, that the payments were tied to Obama's political maneuvering.

National Review: Pigford Scandal as Big as Andrew Breitbart Warned.  One of conservatism's leading journals, National Review, published a lead editorial on the Pigford scandal on Monday, not only noting that Andrew Breitbart was right all along but that the scandal deserves more attention nationally.  As it wraps up, the NR piece arrives at the logical conclusion that Obama's expansion of Pigford payouts "resembles in organization and aim a criminal conspiracy of breathtaking proportions, and one in which the federal government was first complicit and then ultimately responsible."

Better late than never: New York Times confirms Andrew Breitbart on Pigford scandal.  Pigs do fly.  Glenn Reynolds writes:  "Better late to the story than never, I guess."  Two and a half years late as it were.  Will the New York Times also be accused of being in on a stupid conspiracy theory?

The Media Matters Frenzy to Discredit Breitbart's Pigford Investigation.  Using their own search engine, you can find at least twenty stories written by the Soros-funded, 501 (c)(3) welfare queens at Media Matters for America that were explicitly meant to discredit Andrew Breitbart's investigative efforts into what became known as Pigford — a four-alarm scandal involving the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Friday morning [4/26/2013], Breitbart's cause on behalf of those black farmers who had been legitimately discriminated against was fully vindicated on page A1 of the New York Times.

Pigford Across the Media.  Coming years late to the story, The New York Times finally took a look at the Pigford scandal that Andrew Breitbart, Lee Stranahan and the Breitbart team exposed starting in 2010.  At last the story is making an appearance across the media.

Pigford: NYT Pegs Obama for Vote-Buying Scheme.  The New York Times has vindicated the news sense of Andrew Breitbart and years of Breitbart News coverage of the Pigford scandal with a front page, above the fold blockbuster of investigative journalism that adds new details about the fraud in the USDA farmer settlements and the key role that Barack Obama has played in Pigford dating back to his days as a Senator.

Pigford Scam: "This is institutionalized corruption of the highest order!"  Mark Levin spent the first segment of his show on the massive corruption laid out in the NY Times article on the Pigford scam.  While he said it does vindicate Andrew Breitbart, it is much bigger than Breitbart.  Levin says this is the type of scandal that used to bring Presidents and Congressmen down.

Shirley Sherrod sues Andrew Breitbart over video he posted.  Shirley Sherrod has filed a defamation suit against Andrew Breitbart, the conservative gadfly she alleges triggered her firing by the Obama administration and ignited a national debate on race and reverse discrimination.

Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-GA), His Scandal and the Pigford Cover-Up.  Representative Bishop has represented South Georgia's second district for nearly 20 years.  He's an under the radar member of the Congressional Black Caucus, seemingly without the temperament or ambition to achieve the high visibility of a John Conyers or Maxine Waters.  His relative anonymity has allowed him to avoid much close scrutiny but because of his active role in helping to cover up the Pigford scandal, we are keeping a close eye on him and his race for reelection in 2012.  For those of you not familiar with Congressman Bishop, here's a quick recap of some of his career low lights.

More Fake Farmers.  Last year, Congress chose to give to give millions more dollars to black farmers who claim they were discriminated against by the US Agriculture Department — I've reported that lots of the money goes to people who never farmed.  In my report, Othello Cross, a lawyer for the farmers, admitted to us on camera that there was fraud.  Now, Andrew Breitbart points out that yet another farmers' lawyer has chimed in.

The media's silence on the Pigford Black Reparations story.  The media is protecting the White House again... by ignoring the Pigford Black Reparations Scam expose that Andrew Breitbart is running at Big Government.  As you read the news online, watch TV, and peruse the papers, please keep track of what news outlets are reporting on Breitbart's Pigford expose... and which ones are deliberately silent on this.

Pigford v. Glickman:  86,000 claims from 39,697 total farmers?  If there are only 39,697 African-American farmers grand total in the entire country, then how can over 86,000 of them claim discrimination at the hands of the USDA?  Where did the other 46,303 come from?

Real Sherrod Story Still Untold.  [Scroll down]  The major media reported the settlement as though it were the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  For the last forty years, as the civil rights industry has manufactured more and more absurd grievances — most notably the Tea Party smear that incited Breitbart's reprisal — the media have reported on them with increasingly wide-eyed innocence.  In the various stories on the settlement, not one reporter that I could identify stopped to do the math. ... Although 86,000 black farmers are alleged to have received payments, at no time in the last three decades have there been more than 40,000 black farmers.  Nor is there much turnover in the farming business.

Shirley Sherrod and the Race Grievance Industry.  Shirley Sherrod, litigant and co-mastermind of the Pigford settlement, which bestowed large checks on 86,000 of the country's 40,000 black farmers, ironically may help usher in a long-overdue post-racial era in America.  Publicity, once the ally of the racial grievance industry, is now the enemy of deals done in quiet.

Leftists Exult in Breitbart's Death.  The Left is ecstatic because Breitbart had mastered using the Internet to conduct warfare against its cherished ideas and heroes, not least the man in the White House.  Breitbart's sites, as The New American reported, were singlehandedly responsible for the destruction of the leftist ACORN organization.  He also unearthed the Pigford scandal.  With Breitbart gone, the Left is overjoyed.

Did someone mention ACORN?

A Black Farmer Blows the Whistle on the Black Farmer Settlement.  I have 200 acres in Arkansas and have raised hogs.  Pigford is the biggest rip-off this country has ever known, and there are lots of people in positions of power that know it.  Politicians are using it to buy votes.  Trial lawyers are using it to get rich.

Reps. Bachmann, King allege fraud in black farmers settlement.  House Republicans on Wednesday [9/29/2010] charged that a multibillion-dollar settlement with black farmers supported by the Obama administration was rife with fraud.  At a press conference in the Capitol Visitor Center, Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Steve King (R-Iowa) alleged that a $1.25 billion Agriculture Department (USDA) settlement to resolve discrimination claims included individuals who were never farmers.

Bias Settlement Now Reparations Slush Fund.  A settled lawsuit intended to pay thousands of dollars to black farmers discriminated against by the federal government is instead being used as a billion-dollar slush fund doling out reparations for slavery.  That's according to one of the few critics in Congress of the process known as the Pigford settlement.  Rep. Steve King (R.-Iowa), told HUMAN EVENTS the settlement is a "legal blunder" that has been corrupted.

Black Farmers Will Get Payments from $1.25 Billion USDA Settlement.  The number of African-American farmers who will eventually receive a portion of a $1.25-billion government settlement for discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is almost impossible to determine at this point, said attorneys representing the second batch of complainants in the Pigford case.

Black Farmer, USDA Employees Prepared to Testify About Fraud in USDA Settlement.  A black farmer who was an original litigant in the racial discrimination case against the U.S. Department of Agriculture is prepared to testify before a congressional committee about the way some attorneys rounded up plaintiffs — including homeless people and others who never farmed.  The potential witness told a Republican congressman the attorneys went through neighborhoods, looking for people to be among the nearly 16,000 plaintiffs who received $1 billion in compensation for alleged farm-loan discrimination.

New Black Panthers Bring Racism to the Mainstream Media's Clubhouse.  On Friday, September 23, 2011, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, a panel of activists held a press conference on the $2.7 billion Pigford settlement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and black farmers claiming past discrimination.  What ensued was a grotesque display of racism, antisemitism, and homophobia.  And not a single member of the mainstream media was on hand to report what happened.  The event was opened by Malik Zulu Shabazz, Chairman of the New Black Panther Party, a militant hate group that supported Barack Obama in the 2008 election and sent armed thugs to intimidate voters at several polling places in 2008 and 2010.

Pigford and New Black Panthers: Friends at DOJ.  At the Justice Department, one man has played a central role in two of the most controversial racialist policies of the Obama Administration — Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli.  This bundler of huge campaign contributions for the Obama Campaign is now the second highest ranking Presidential appointee at the Justice Department.  Perrelli is best known for his central role in dismissing the slam dunk voter intimidation case brought and dropped against the New Black Panther Party.  But the leftist Perrelli has outdone himself.

The Pigford Scandal.  It's a timeless tale of passion:  a dashing government dressed in taxpayer cash sweeps into a dressing room, eyes burning with an insatiable appetite for votes.  A favored constituency looks up from her dressing table, chest heaving behind her flimsy pretext for cashing in.  In a heavily shadowed corner of the room, a band of high-powered lawyers takes up their violins, and soon romantic music mixes with the firelight.  A veil of moral arrogance is drawn across the scene, but you know what comes next.

Obama to sign bill awarding payments to black farmers: justice or 'fraud'?  President Obama signs a law Wednesday [12/8/2010] aimed at rectifying USDA actions that undercut black farmers.  Some conservatives call it 'modern-day reparations' that reward political friends.

The Pigford Scandal:  The original plaintiffs in the Pigford class-action suit numbered less than 500.  The USDA estimated that no more than 2,000 claims would ultimately be filed.  Who in blazes would be stupid enough to make such an estimate?  Oh, yeah, that's right:  Clinton appointees.  To date, ninety-four thousand claims have been filed.  The lame-duck congress just approved another $1.15 billion to pay them off.  The National Black Farmers Association thinks there are about 18,000 black farmers in the entire country.

Reparations?  When Pigford Flies.  Congress has OK'd nearly $5 billion for black and Native American farmers who claim they were discriminated against.  This is redistribution of wealth in the name of environmental and social justice.  Reparations have begun.

USDA Denies Discrimination against Black Farmers But Pays Out $1.25 Billion Anyway.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) denied allegations that it discriminated against African-American farmers as detailed in a class action lawsuit the farmers filed against the department, but the USDA has nonetheless agreed to pay those farmers $1.25 billion as part of a settlement agreement.

Obama Using Pigford Cash to Pay Campaign Debts?.  One key to understanding the Pigford travesty is realizing how Barack Obama came to the point where today he is giving away billions in taxpayer dollars for potentially fraudulent Pigford-related claims.  What may have begun as a legitimate 100 million dollar effort to repair genuine damages caused by alleged USDA discrimination evolved into what amounted to a pay-for-play scam with two linked goals — to defeat Hillary Clinton in the Democrat primary, then get Barack Obama elected president.

The Pigford Killings: Double-Murder, Double-Cross, and Decapitation in the Delta.  As we have been chronicling in our Pigford coverage this week, the amount of evidence suggesting massive fraud is staggering and will continue to build and build.  Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack came out last week to say there have only been three cases of fraud out of the 20,000 claims.

Pigford President: Obama Signs Black Farmers Settlement.  American Indians and black farmers will be paid $4.6 billion to address claims of government mistreatment over many decades under landmark legislation President Barack Obama signed Wednesday [12/8/2010].

The $1.25 Billion Pigford II Black Farmers Settlement.  [Scroll down]  A quick Google search revealed that Ryan and Hayes had been alluding to the incredibly conspicuous news that days after Sherrod was fired by the Obama administration, funding for the $1.15 billion Pigford II settlement was pulled out from a supplementary war funding bill.  The Google search also revealed that Senators Obama and Biden had been two of four Pigford legislative sponsors in the Senate.  Even more interesting, Rep. Steve King (R-Ia), who is on the House Agriculture committee, was on AM radio drawing attention to what was previously not known to me, and it was a blockbuster:  Shirley Sherrod, and her husband, Charles, along with their decades-long defunct communal farm, New Communities Inc., were set to receive over a whopping $13 million in the Pigford settlement, the largest amount of money allocated in the history of the Pigford settlement.

The Congressional Black Caucus vs. Black FarmersPigford v. Glickman was supposed to help black farmers discriminated against by the USDA.  Instead, it's diverted hundreds of millions of dollars to people who never farmed and diverted attention away from the plight of real farmers.

The Real Shirley Sherrod Scandal.  Want to get a check from the government for $50,000?  If you're black and willing to say you once "attempted to farm," the money could be yours.  Why?  In the 80's and 90's, some Black farmers were allegedly discriminated against by the Agriculture Department.  Department loan officers supposedly did the opposite of what Shirley Sherrod was accused of:  they granted government-subsidized farm loans to whites but not to blacks.  Government shouldn't be giving out government subsidized loans to anyone.

Shirley Sherrod's Unconstitutional Attack on Andrew Breitbart.  No matter what you think of the original Sherrod incident, Breitbart's commentary falls squarely within the protections of the First Amendment.  Freedom of political speech lies at the core of the Constitution; we attack our political officials all the time without fear of reprisal.  Sherrod was an outspoken public figure, one that unapologetically stated that she saw the world through the framework of Marxism.

Report: White House played a role in the firing of Shirley Sherrod.  Documents obtained by Judicial Watch, a public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, show that the Obama White House played a role in the controversial firing of former U.S. Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod.  The administration had previously denied any involvement in her resignation.

CPAC Presser: The great Pigford fraud.  [Scroll down]  Andrew Breitbart delivered remarks, saying that Al Pires created a system to exploit black farmers in the South, who only numbered about 3,000 expected claimants at the outset.  Pigford has ended up with about 94,000 claimants, thanks in no small part to Sen. Barack Obama's sponsorship of a bill to extend Pigford when he was in the Senate.  Meanwhile, black farmers who were actually discriminated against by the USDA were scammed to benefit the class action attorneys involved, who made a killing off of Pigford.  The farmers, meanwhile, lost their land and continue to be victims of the entire process.

Pigford Pigout Is Illegal.  When Comrade Obama promised to "spread the wealth around," he didn't mean indiscriminately.  The idea is to take it from those who create it, and spread it among the groups that support him most loyally, namely unions and blacks.

Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-GA) Want Pigford Fraud Coverup?  The hours of interviews I've done with the key people involved in the Pigford settlement are a treasure trove of information about what really happened in this multi-billion dollar debacle.  Because of the holidays and then the tragic shooting in Tuscon, I wanted to hold off on releasing details about some of the major news that we're been able to uncover  — but at the risk of creating PiggieFatigue, here's part one of a serious allegation that a U.S. Congressman knowingly was complicit in covering up fraud.

Witnesses Are Ready to Testify in Congress About Alleged Pigford Fraud.  Rep. Steve King (R.-Iowa), who serves on both the House Agriculture Committee and the House Judiciary Committee, says he has personally talked to two potential witnesses in recent months who are ready to come forward and speak to a congressional committee — if one decides to actually investigate the matter — about alleged fraud in discrimination-compensation payments that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made to black farmers.

Obama Carries on the Pigford Fraud.  When Congress was stampeded to pass unprecedented legislation in 1998 to facilitate the Pigford v. Glickman suit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), some wise but unknown person included a limiting provision in that bill to minimize participation by phony claimants.  But, when the Clinton Administration agreed to a settlement of the case in 1999, that provision was carefully evaded in the consent decree, opening the door to massive fraud.

Steve King Says Congress will Investigate "Reparations".  President Obama earlier this month signed into law a measure to pay American Indians and black farmers a total of $4.6 billion to cover decades of government mistreatment.  Now, a Republican congressman says the GOP-controlled House next year will hold hearings to investigate the settlement, which he says amounts to "reparations."  Conservative Rep. Steve King of Iowa told local radio station KCIM that the Pigford settlement, which was part of the legislation, "is full of fraud" and "amounts to paying reparations to black farmers in America.  We don't do reparations in America."

Key 'Black Farmers' Lawyer Admits Clients 'Got Away With Murder'.  The mainstream media has treated accusations of large-scale fraud in the Pigford settlement with overt skepticism and a distinct lack of journalistic curiosity.  The press has blindly repeated the Obama Administration's claim that there are only a handful of fraud cases among the twenty thousand or so paid Pigford claims.  Worse, the media has helped promote the narrative that those raising concerns about fraud in Pigford are racist.

Rep. King Files Amendment to Block Pigford II Funds.  "In the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress limited taxpayers' exposure to the Pigford II settlement program at $100 million, a figure that was deemed sufficient to resolve the racial discrimination claims leveled against the United States Department of Agriculture by black farmers," said King.  "Since that time, a lame-duck Democratic Congress agreed to President Obama's request to pump an additional $1.15 billion into the Pigford II settlement program, doing so even though the program is rife with credible allegations of massive fraud that have not been fully investigated.  This was an irresponsible act, and it violated Congress's responsibility to be good stewards of taxpayers' money."

One of the 'Biggest Conspiracies Against the U.S. Treasury Ever'
Original Pigford Claimant Calls It a Conspiracy.  It's back to business on our investigation of the Pigford story — the ongoing fraud that needs your help and attention to make it stop.  The mainstream — with a few exceptions like John Stossel — are ignoring the story of the one of the biggest frauds in U.S. history because it doesn't fit their narrative.

John W. Boyd demands more from government for black farmers.  In December, when President Barack Obama signed the "Claims Resolution Act of 2010," which appropriated $1.15 billion to black farmers who said the U.S. Department of Agriculture had discriminated against them, many thought the matter had been laid to rest.  Dr. John W. Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, has a message for America though:  The black farmers need more — especially as they initially sought $2.5 billion.

Andrew Breitbart on Pigford Lawsuit: 'Bring It On'.  Breitbart.com LLC announced today [2/12/2011] that its Chairman and CEO Andrew Breitbart and the head of Breitbart.tv, Larry O'Connor, have been sued in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by a central figure in the Pigford "back-door" reparations case.  The Pigford case involves over $2.5 billion in US taxpayer money and constitutes one of the biggest cases of corruption and politically-motivated fraud in the history of the United States.  Mr. Breitbart and Breitbart.tv have been investigating and reporting on the Pigford case since late summer 2010.

Pigford's Harvest.  At a December 8 signing ceremony, President Obama heralded Pigford II as the close of "a long and unfortunate chapter in our history."  In a way, one hopes the president is right — that the credulity, or perhaps the shame, of the American government and its taxpayers cannot be strained to accommodate the petty greed of more than 94,000 phantom farmers, and that the con will finally have run its course.  But that is unlikely.  Two Pigford-style class-action suits — one for Hispanic farmers, another for women — with the potential to dwarf current settlements are working their way through the courts.  Like so many Pigfords to the trough.

Probe Pigford Fraud.  The original Pigford settlement arose out of a 1997 class-action lawsuit by Timothy Pigford and 400 southern black farmers who had apparently legitimate claims of discrimination against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its allocation of farm loans between 1983 and 1987.  At last count, more than 94,000 black farmers had signed up for well north of $1 billion in payments under the settlement.

Pigford Attorney Publicly Reveals Conspiracy to Defraud Federal Government.  One of the key attorneys in the Pigford "black farmers" lawsuit has confirmed, on camera, what we at Big Government have argued for months:  that the $2.7 billion Pigford settlement has been corrupted by fraud on a massive scale.  On September 23, 2011, at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., attorney Faya Rose Toure (a.k.a. Rose Sanders) described a conspiracy to defraud the federal government, involving claimants, attorneys, and members of the clergy.




Farm subsidies

Federal Crop Subsidies Went to Billionaires.  Federal crop insurance subsidies went to billionaires, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).  The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) program provides subsidies to cover the crop losses for farmers, regardless of their income.  The GAO report, released Wednesday [3/18/2015], found that thousands of individuals with incomes over $500,000 have received $317 million in subsidies over five years, and not all were farmers.

Welfare Dairy Queens: Will America's Farmers Ever Be Weaned From Government Support?  Many of America's farmers essentially work for the government.  And, in the way of these things, the government works for them.  Every year some $20 billion in more or less direct subsidies go to certain agricultural sectors.

Millions in farm subsidies flow freely to DC residents who don't actually farm.  Washington, D.C., doesn't have many farms, or farmers.  Yet thousands of residents in and around the nation's capital receive millions of dollars every year in federal farm subsidies, including working-class residents in Southeast, wealthy lobbyists on K Street and well-connected lawmakers on Capitol Hill.  In neighboring Chevy Chase, Md., one of the nation's wealthiest communities, lawyers, lobbyists and at least one psychologist collected nearly $342,000 in taxpayer farm subsidies between 2008 and 2011, according to the watchdog group Open the Books.

The farm bill isn't really about farming.  It's about food stamps.
Might Congress actually split up the gigantic farm bill?  We call the large, deliberately convoluted, and $1 trillion/ten years legislation that recently crashed and burned in the House the farm bill, but in reality, the majority of the bill's monetary substance is all about providing funding for the ever-expanding federal food stamp program.

More Subsidies for Prosperous Farmers.  In the face of deficits not seen since World War II, we should question proposals to provide billions of taxpayer dollars to support an industry that is enjoying record profits.

Farm Bill: After Three Failed Decades of No Reform, Isn't it Time to Try a Different Approach?  Unwinding the government's crop protectionism regime has been a 30+ year-long nightmare mess.  We who wish to make it all go away have in that time gotten absolutely nowhere in our attempts to do so.  A political numbers-reality has existed throughout that has made progress impossible.  Nearly every Democrat will always be for just about any government program — of course including crop subsidies.  On principle.  It's government — and they always want it to do more.  Then there are rural Republicans.  Whose states (Senate) and many districts (House) contain crop subsidies recipients.

House defeats farm bill amid bipartisan opposition.  In a defeat for Republican leadership, the House on Thursday [6/20/2013] rejected a sweeping farm bill, amid opposition from both sides of the aisle.  More than 60 House Republicans defected and voted against the half-trillion-dollar bill, which sets funding for farm subsidies and other assistance as well as food stamps.  The vote was 234-195 against the bill.

Price Fixing Milk.  Washington's dairy policy is such a mess that even Congress would be hard pressed to make it worse, but Minnesota Democrat Collin Peterson and a few Republicans are trying.  As ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, Mr. Peterson is the guardian angel of his state's giant Land O'Lakes dairy co-op.  The House will vote Wednesday [6/19/2013] whether to retain his latest farm-bill gift to milk producers in the form of a new Soviet-style supply program to raise prices.

More Subsidies for Prosperous Farmers.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that farm income in 2013 will be more than double what it was in 2009.  The nation's farmers are enjoying the benefits of high crop prices, massive crop insurance subsidies, and technological advances that have made crops more resistant to drought.  As a result, farming's record level of income far surpasses that of comparable non-farm sectors.  Yet much of the debate over new farm legislation seems oblivious to these facts.  The latest farm bill would give farmers even greater subsidies.

Farm Subsidies Must Die.  In 2012, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) spent $22 billion on subsidy programs for farmers.  Introduced in the 1930s to help struggling small family farms, the subsidies now routinely draw condemnation from both left and right as wasteful corporate welfare.  While the number of farms is down 70 percent since the 1930s — only 2 percent of Americans are directly engaged in farming — farmers aren't necessarily struggling anymore.  In 2010, the average farm household earned $84,400, up 9.4 percent from 2009 and about 25 percent more than the average household income nationwide.

The surprising recipients of an agricultural tax break.  A sales tax break designed to help agricultural businesses was written with sweeping language aimed at a range of Georgia farmers.  But faced with a growing horde of applicants, state officials are racing to clarify a vast gray area determining who should qualify for the lucrative benefits.

Corn Ethanol and a Non-Warming Earth.  The earth has failed to warm at all for 15 years now, and American farmers are afraid of losing the "renewable fuel" mandate for corn ethanol — which has given them record crop prices and incomes since 2007.  So, they're proposing a new entitlement designed to ensure that they'll never lose money again.  Their proposed new federal farm bill would guarantee that farmers' incomes don't decline — and if future farm prices rise even more, the Feds' guarantee would ratchet up too.

More about ethanol.

Senate Definition of Reform? Give Rich Farmers More Aid.  The [farm] bill, which Congress renews every five years, was supposed to cut giveaways to agribusiness and other wasteful spending.  Indeed, Senate negotiators hailed the $23 billion in cost reductions over the next 10 years as one of the biggest shakeups in agriculture policy in generations.

Runyan's donkeys, Bon Jovi's bees: Farm subsidies draw scrutiny.  The miniature donkeys that graze at the Mount Laurel homestead of U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan became political fodder as soon as the former Eagles tackle announced his candidacy in 2009.  Under a New Jersey law designed to protect farmers from soaring property taxes, Runyan receives a 98 percent tax break on most of his land because he keeps donkeys and sells firewood.

Beware The Mexican Strawberries?  I get into a lot arguments with conservatives over very non-conservative causes they believe in. ... One of these non-conservative things that conservatives seem often to hold dear are farm subsidies.  Of course there is no constitutional authority for such programs.  But still I am told often as a matter of fact by "conservative" people that these subsidies are needed and that farmers cannot live without them.

Why there's never been a better time to cut farm subsidies.  As President Obama and Speaker Boehner discuss spending cuts and the debt ceiling, they should realize that thanks to the rise of the Chinese middle class, this is a great time to cut U.S. farm subsidies.  Just yesterday [7/12/2011], the USDA boosted its estimates of 2012 marketing year U.S. corn exports to China by fourfold — indicating a strong and lasting shift in Chinese consumption patterns, a shift that wasn't present when farm reforms were last discussed in 1996.

City Dwellers Got $394 Million in Farm Subsidies, Watchdog Group Says.  An estimated 90,000 people living in 350 cities and towns across the country got nearly $400 million in taxpayer-funded crop subsidies last year, says a top environmental watchdog group.

Ag Department Needs To Be Plowed Under.  The Department of Agriculture no longer serves as a lifeline to millions of struggling homestead farmers.  Instead it is a vast, self-perpetuating, postmodern bureaucracy with an amorphous budget of some $130 billion — a sum far greater than the nation's net farm income this year.  In fact, the more the Agriculture Department has pontificated about family farmers, the more they have vanished — comprising now only about 1% of the American population.

The Department of Food Subsidies.  The Department of Agriculture no longer serves as a lifeline to millions of struggling homestead farmers. ... Net farm income is expected in 2011 to reach its highest levels in more than three decades, as a rapidly growing and food-short world increasingly looks to the United States to provide it everything from soybeans and wheat to beef and fruit.  Somebody should explain that good news to the Department of Agriculture:  This year it will give a record $20 billion in various crop "supports" to the nation's wealthiest farmers — with the richest 10 percent receiving over 70 percent of all the redistributive payouts.

Why Don't Republicans Want to Eliminate Farm Subsidies?  The Cato Institute calls farm subsidies "environmentally destructive corporate welfare, with more than 70 percent of aid going to the largest 10 percent of agribusinesses."  Cato calculates that eliminating the program would save $20 billion or more each year.

Why can't we get rid of agricultural subsidies?
Ending Farm Welfare As We Know It.  Just about everything in Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's budget blueprint has caught unshirted hell from critics:  the tax rates, the Medicare vouchers, the safety-net cuts.  The one thing that hasn't?  The cuts to farm subsidies.  If past is prologue, that means the subsidies are probably safe.  Ryan wants to trim $3 billion a year from a $15 billion annual total in farm support programs.  This is a modest goal — perhaps too modest.

Pork politics all that's needed to keep farm subsidies growing.  [Scroll down]  As those farm state senators and representatives could tell you, a number of farmers making modest incomes have a gross take of $500,000 or more.  They have to spend huge amounts to produce crops and get them to market.  These farmers aren't rich.  It's just the way the business often works.  At the same time, of course, large numbers of those getting the handouts are in fact big-time agribusinesses and it is no more crucial to support the smaller farms than it is to support any other kind of small business.

The Obama Revolution.  Mr. Obama's budget assumes that nearly all of the new stimulus spending will be temporary — a fantasy.  He also proposes to eliminate farm subsidies for those with annual sales of more than $500,000.  This is a great idea, and long overdue.  But has the President checked with Senators Kent Conrad (North Dakota) or Chuck Grassley (Iowa)?  We hope we're wrong, but a White House that showed no interest in restraining Congress during the recent stimulus bacchanal isn't likely to stand athwart history to stop the agribusiness lobby.

Let's 'Restructure' Washington While We're at It.  The farm bill, originally passed in 1933 to keep small farmers afloat (when 25% of Americans lived on farms), outlived its usefulness by the start of World War II.  Today just 2% of Americans live on farms.  Congress lectures Detroit about a one-time loan of $15 billion, yet year after year Congress hands $10 billion to corporate farmers.  And that's only one of hundreds of institutionalized pork-barrel projects.

Oink! Oink! Oink!  Congress goes hog wild with farm bill.  There will be unmelted snowballs in Hades before this Congress agrees to cut out the pork in the farm bill headed for a vote within the next week, so President Bush should get his veto pen ready.  At an estimated cost of at least $285 billion over 10 years, this will be the most expensive and regressive farm bill ever.  Given how Congress uses budget gimmicks these days to hide the real costs of many of the bills it approves, that $285 billion figure is almost certainly too low.

Dreams From My Farmer.  In The Audacity of Hope, Obama worries about the ugly image that Americans project to the world in the area of trade.  We demand, he writes, that "developing countries eliminate trade barriers that protect them from competition, even as we steadfastly protect our own constituencies from exports that could help lift poor countries out of poverty."  This laudable concern did not prevent him from voting for the farm bill, whose entire purpose was to "protect our own constituencies from exports that could help lift poor countries out of poverty."

Congress Opts for Farm Bill Pork Rather than Reform.  Congressional Democrats, joined by many Republicans, plowed down the seedlings of reform and passed a Farm Bill that perpetuates wasteful crop subsidies and doles out funds to interests that have little or nothing to do with agricultural production.

Children of the Corn:  [Scroll down]  The result is the $289 billion farm bill that President Bush vetoed for the second time on Wednesday.  Congress overrode the veto within hours, and so you'll pay at least $5 billion a year in automatic payments to farmers growing staples such as wheat, cotton, corn, and soybeans, even if prices stay at record levels.  You'll pay an extra $410 million to dairy farmers, who have been enjoying record prices.

Farm Bill Yet Another Example of Democrats' Broken Promises on Earmark Reform.  There's something fishy in the Farm Bill, and taxpayers should beware.  It's a $170 million earmark for the salmon industry, quietly tucked into the mammoth bill at the last minute by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA).  I don't know much about the salmon industry.  Perhaps Pelosi and Thompson can explain why it was necessary to earmark $170 million of the taxpayers' money with no public scrutiny or debate.  The earmark wasn't in the House-passed Farm Bill or the Senate version; it was simply "air-dropped" into the final bill in secret.

Congress passes farm bill, defying Bush.  Congress sent the White House a huge election-year farm bill Thursday [5/15/2008] that includes a boost in farm subsidies and more money for food stamps amid rising grocery prices.  Bush has threatened to veto the $290 billion bill, saying it is fiscally irresponsible and too generous to wealthy corporate farmers in a time of record crop prices.

Republicans Fumble the Farm Bill.  When lawmakers return to Capitol Hill this week, a group of House Republicans known as the FIT Force will unveil an effort to expose Washington waste.  Led by Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), this newly formed Fiscal Integrity Task Force wants to hold congressional spendthrifts accountable for their excesses.  McCotter's goal is admirable — and one that all Americans, regardless of ideology, should support.  Unfortunately, the group's timing couldn't be worse.  That's because McCotter and half of the FIT Force members themselves abandoned fiscal integrity less than two weeks ago.  That's when they voted to override President Bush's veto of the farm bill, a $307 billion monstrosity that will cost the average U.S. family about $5,650.

Pork Farm:  The House (318-106) and Senate (81-15) have passed a new $300 billion farm bill by veto-proof margins this week.  The bill is worse than the 2002 farm bill, which at the time was considered the most bloated and wasteful in history.  President Bush should not only veto it, he should take his time in doing so.  We have a feeling that the more time the public has to get to know this bill, the less they will like it.

Farming for riches:  I may surprise some people by saying what few presidential candidates would ever be willing to say out loud in farm country:  I'd veto the farm bill -- a bloated expansion in federal spending that will do more harm than good.  When agricultural commodity prices and exports have reached record highs, we no longer need government-grown farms and mammoth government bureaucracies.

Farm Bill Vote a Loss for Consumers and Taxpayers.  The House of Representatives on Wednesday [5/14/2008] passed the Farm Bill, signaling a major loss for consumers and taxpayers.  "If the Senate goes the way of the House, taxpayers and consumers will be paying the bills for a Farm Bill that increases farm subsidy programs, provides payments to millionaire farmers, and increases spending by about $20 billion, without any significant reform," said Fran Smith, Adjunct Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Crooked farm bill expands sugar boondoggle.  The Farm Nutrition and Bioenergy Act, which cleared the House on Tuesday 318-106, is a cornucopia of boondoggles, rip-offs and handouts, but perhaps the most inexplicable part is the provision instructing the federal government to buy "surplus" sugar from sugar growers and then sell it to make ethanol.  Taxpayers will buy overpriced sugar and then sell it to ethanol makers at an artificially low price — a sweet deal for sugar and ethanol barons, and a raw deal for taxpayers.

Bush Says 'Bloated' Farm Bill Rewards Millionaires.  President George W. Bush called the farm bill being put together by congressional negotiators a "massive, bloated" piece of legislation that would pay subsidies to "multimillionaire farmers."

Some Farm Subsidies Going To The Rich And Famous.  Some of America's rich and famous are padding their bank accounts with government money meant for working farmers.  A watchdog group in Washington unveiled an internet database that pinpoints where the government is giving away farm subsidies on Tuesday.  You may be surprised to see who's getting money and where.

It's Time to End Farm Subsidies.  President Bush's modest proposal to reduce farm subsidies will not cause a partisan fight between Democrats and Republicans, but make no mistake about it:  the fight that does occur will be interest-group politics-as-usual.  Unfortunately, absent from that fight is any consideration of whether farmers should get subsidies at all.

Farm Subsidies:  More Obsolete Than Your Grandpa's Tractor.  Robert Samuelson discusses the history of federal farm subsidies, and the massive money pit they have become.  In the 37 years since 1970, the federal government has spent $578 billion on farm subsidies.  Samuelson says that, even though incredible amounts are spent on farming, its not doing much good.

$16 Billion in Federal Taxpayer Farm Subsidies — Growing Problems.  Few issues frustrate economic conservatives more than farm subsidies because of their extremely high cost to taxpayers and their role in keeping the price of commodities at artificially high levels.  Since 1933, when the United States Government made farm subsidies part of its agricultural policy, many people have urged Congress and the President to eliminate the unfair practice.  So far little progress has been made.

Grousing grows in D.C. about local 'pork' projects.  An Arizona lawmaker says an Iowa dairy program that got $229,000 in federal money exemplifies the problem. … The dairy education program received $229,000 in this year's federal budget — a relatively small amount.  But simmering unrest over congressional hometown largesse has put such targeted federal spending, known as earmarks, under increasing scrutiny in Washington.

Old Don Young Had a Farm.  Don Young's "way" is to use his position as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to bring home as many federal dollars as possible for his home state.  For instance, the highway bill passed at the end of July netted over $1 billion in special projects for Alaska.  That's $1,448 in pork for every man, woman, and child in Alaska.

Is the House farm bill a cushion for wealthy?  In the past, Minnesota beneficiaries of farm payments included Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, a billionaire who got $542,265 in subsidies between 1996 and 2000 from farmland in Minnesota and Iowa.  Nationally, the list of wealthy recipients has included media mogul Ted Turner, NBA star Scottie Pippen, former WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers and the late Enron chief Ken Lay.

The Farm State Pig-Out:  That great rooting, snooting noise you hear in the distance, dear taxpayers, is the sound of election-year, farm-state politics rolling out of the U.S. Congress.  We all know democracy isn't cheap, but this is ridiculous.  This week [early May 2002] the Senate is expected to approve the final farm bill, a 10-year, $173.5 billion bucket of slop that has even Washington agog.

Real Emergencies and Farm "Emergencies":  Most farm households earn the bulk of their income from non-farm sources. … In fact, USDA figures show that only 38 percent of farm households consider farming to be their primary occupation.  Nonetheless, Congress has been using "emergency" budget procedures for the past four years to pass huge farm subsidy bills.  The vast bulk of this money was not aimed at legitimate farm emergencies such as droughts, but simply went to boost farm incomes.

The sugar subsidy:  how sweet it is.  These aren't good times for the sugar lobby.  Sales were down 4.3 percent in 2004.  … Sugar substitutes are a godsend for many Americans.  With most diets drenched in calories, Equal, Sweet 'N' Low, and Splenda all offer a modest respite.  Which is bad in the sugar lobby's view.

Ending red-state welfare as we know it.  The Bush administration is set to take on one of the great scandals of American governance:  a system of farm subsidies so perverse that it should get whatever the equivalent of an NC-17 rating is for a federal program.

More Corporate Welfare Embedded in the Farm Bill.  Among the many troubling provisions of the costly farm bill signed into law by President Bush in 2002 were several to provide even more federal subsidies to rural electric cooperatives, which are already heavily subsidized.

What About The War Against The Welfare State?  Every dollar spent on a pork barrel project, on expanding failed programs like Title I, on paying wealthy farmers not to farm, means one less dollar for strengthening our military or for spending on domestic self-defense.

The federal budget:  The good, the bad and the ugly.  The ugly is an $80 billion increase in farm aid.  Modern farming techniques make it possible to grow more food per acre and the government is working overtime to artificially keep prices up and keep people in the farming business who, if left alone, long ago would have found other lines of work.

The Clinton $600 Million Farm-loan RipoffThousands of blacks, unconnected with farming, are claiming $50,000 each for racial discrimination on the part of the Department of Agriculture for farm loans.



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