October 9, 2012
Lilly Ledbetter, who made false claims about her case, attacks Romney – Washington DC SCOTUS | Examiner.com
April 12, 2012
Court Declares Newspaper Excerpt on Online Forum is a Non-Infringing Fair Use | Electronic Frontier Foundation
March 12, 2012
December 7, 2010
4. Black Farmer: ‘The biggest rip-off this country has ever known’
8. Pelosi: Pigford just the beginning
10. Black Farmers’ Assoc. Pres.: No problem if non-farmers get settlement money…
12. Cynthia McKinney: ‘Claimants, who are not necessarily farmers, have been paid out of the judgment fund’
While we certainly hope the possibility of multi-billion dollar fraud was enough to pique your outrage, what may be the most frightening revelation from our research is that Pigford may be the proverbial tip of the farmer scam iceberg. Fox News published this report suggesting as much:
The congressional approval of a whopping $4.6 billion settlement for black and Native American farmers who claimed they were discriminated against has cleared the way for a similar pair of costly lawsuits — drawing complaints that the government may be buckling to pressure and rewarding dubious claims.
The so-called “Pigford” case involving black farmers who allege the Agriculture Department cheated them for decades drew to a close Tuesday when the House joined the Senate in approving the second settlement in the case to date. But the lawsuits don’t end there. Though Pigford has attracted the most attention, a separate set of cases filed by Hispanic and female farmers has been working its way through the courts since shortly after Pigford was filed more than a decade ago.
Those cases are set for a hearing in federal District Court in the nation’s capital on Friday, and once again a large pot of taxpayer money is on the line. The farmers were offered a $1.3 billion settlement back in May, but the plaintiffs have since then pushed for more. Some Democratic lawmakers argue they deserve it. (more…)
On April 14. 1999, Judge Paul Friedman signed a Consent Decree in the class action law suit PIGFORD, BREWINGTON v GLICKMAN and the US Department of Agriculture.
Following is a portion of the opinion written by Judge Friedman:
Forty acres and a mule. As the Civil War drew to a close, the United States government created the Freedmen’s Bureau to provide assistance to former slaves. The government promised to sell or lease to farmers parcels of unoccupied land and land that had been confiscated by the Union during the war, and it promised the loan of a federal government mule to plow that land. Some African Americans took advantage of these programs and either bought or leased parcels of land. During Reconstruction, however, President Andrew Johnson vetoed a bill to enlarge the powers and activities of the Freedmen’s Bureau, and he reversed many of the policies of the Bureau. Much of the promised land that had been leased to African American farmers was taken away and returned to Confederate loyalists. For most African Americans, the promise of forty acres and a mule was never kept. Despite the government’s failure to live up to its promise, African American farmers persevered. By 1910, they had acquired approximately 16 million acres of farmland. By 1920, there were 925,000 African American farms in the United States.
Most fundamentally, these objections result from a well-founded and deep-seated mistrust of the USDA. A mistrust borne of a long history of racial discrimination. A mistrust that is well-deserved. As Mr. Chestnut put it, these objections reflect “fear which reaches all the way back to slavery. . . . That objection, you heard it from many today, it really asks you to retain jurisdiction, over this case in perpetuity. Otherwise they say USDA will default, ignore the lawful mandates of this Court, and in time march home scot-free while blacks are left holding the empty bag again.” Transcript of Hearing of March 2, 1999 at 172, The Court cannot guarantee class members that they will never experience discrimination at the hands of the USDA again, and the Consent Decree does not purport to make such a guarantee. But the Consent Decree and the Court do provide certain assurances. (more…)
Former Secretary of Agriculture: More Claims Than Farmers; No One Fired at USDA: Something Just Doesn’t Add Up!
by Ed Schafer
I am shocked by the recent passage of legislation by the US Congress that provides a settlement for discrimination lawsuits filed by black farmers against the United States Department of Agriculture. With today’s focus on deficit spending and unaffordable government debt, Congress has decided to double the amount of dollars spent to date to settle these claims. Given the fact that there are more claims of discrimination than there are black farmers, I wonder if members of Congress knew the facts if they would have voted to spend another $1.2 Billion to settle claims.
After my nomination and subsequent unanimous confirmation as Secretary of USDA, I set about to learn as much about the Department as fast as I could. One initial briefing was by the Under-Secretary for Civil Rights.
Included was a brief on several class lawsuits against the Department alleging discrimination against minority farmers. Also, it was noted that there were allegations of the Department dragging its feet in getting claims accredited and processed for the court ordered settlement with black farmers in the Pigford class action litigation. I soon had several visits from organizations representing black farmers urging me to settle all claims quickly.
I was concerned about the Department’s handling of discrimination claims and asked that the paperwork be expedited. It was then that I was made aware that there were possibly many claims that were fraudulent and much due diligence was warranted. Understanding that validation and verification of the claims slowed down the process, it was felt that since taxpayers money was at stake that investigations into the propriety of claims were prudent and warranted. (more…)
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.
I personally know of people who have no connection to farming at all who got Pigford checks. People with potted plants in their apartments claimed to be farmers and got paid. I saw an instance where eight Pigford checks went to one house. There are drug addicts and pushers who have received payments who have never farmed a day in their life.
There was discrimination at the US Department of Agriculture. It needed to be dealt with. I was suing the USDA before Timothy Pigford even filed suit. I wrote to attorney Al Pires, who eventually filed a class action lawsuit against the USDA, but he saw that there wasn’t going to be a huge amount of money for him. So he passed. What he did find was a way to work a scam from inside the Star City, Arkansas USDA office by paying a USDA employee to process claimants. This employee would take from $5,000 to $25,000 for each successful Pigford claim. Pires was in this totally for the money. He’s made far more money than any black farmer. (more…)
The whole Pigford affair brings up a host of issues that need to be addressed. Was there racial discrimination at the U.S. Department of Agriculture? All the sources we talked to said yes. Was there a need to redress the issue when necessary? Again, all the sources we talked to said yes. Has there been massive fraud? Everyone we spoke with said yes. Estimates of how bad it is range from 50% of claims to 90%.
Recently Anderson Cooper on CNN reported and accepted Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s claim that there were only three cases of fraud in Pigford. Where did Vilsack get his numbers? He must have Googled for them. Obviously his office isn’t capable of even basic research. Nor apparently is CNN, which didn’t challenge him on the question. There are FBI files in Little Rock, Arkansas, which demonstrate instances of fraudulent claims. We’ve spoken with an FBI agent who say the files are there and available. Even black activist organizations that support Pigford have acknowledged that many of the people signing up and receiving Pigford checks never farmed. Eddie Slaughter, with the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association, has looked at the USDA numbers which show that there are far more claims than there were black farmers in America. He has said, “What that means is that most of these people were never farmers, because the farmers had loans.” Another organization, Concerned Black Farmers of Tennessee, tracked 70 individual Pigford claims in Tipton County and found that 63 percent of those that were approved had no records to establish that they had ever even farmed. Yet, each of those individuals received a check from the USDA for $50,000. (more…)
by Gary Hewson
As of four months ago, I was like many BigGovernment.com readers, except that I had the pleasure of writing a few articles as a contributor to BigGovernment.com and BigJournalism.com over the past year as time permitted. But things changed in early August of this year when Andrew Breitbart and I stumbled upon what we both thought could not only be a huge story, but perhaps one of the most massive taxpayer frauds in the history of this country: the Pigford I and II settlements.
Since that date, I have been researching and writing the foundation of the report we present today. After sifting through thousands of news articles, archives, and web sites and hearing the stories of a dozen or so whistleblowers including an FBI agent, current and former USDA employees, and a black farmer who was discriminated against, we feel that our initial reaction was right: Pigford is a massive story that deserves national attention.
This past Tuesday, Nov 30th, the Democrat-controlled lame-duck House passed the $1.25 billion Black Farmer’s Settlement funding known as Pigford II by a vote of 256-152. The previous week, the bill had passed the Senate with conspicuous assurances of strict fraud-protection measures to shield taxpayers from blatant and rampant abuse; much of which we have uncovered in our months of research.
The bill is headed to President Obama for signature this Wednesday. As we document in our report, then-Senator Obama originally introduced the Pigford II legislation with no co-sponsors in 2007 to curry favor with rural black Southern voters, to which he was trailing significantly to then front-runner Hillary Clinton.
On top of the original billion-plus dollars previously doled out indiscriminately in Pigford I, the American taxpayer will now be on the hook for an additional $1.25 billion in payments to black “farmers,” whom did not have to provide proof of: (more…)
I knew I was going to be whacked hard, but I didn’t know when.
On Thursday, July 15th, I warned NAACP president Ben Jealous to stop the race-baiting. I directed my ire at Jealous on the Scott Hennen radio show:
“I have tapes, a tape, of racism, and it’s an NAACP dinner. You want to play with fire? I have evidence of racism, and it’s coming from the NAACP.”
This was part of an ongoing defense of the Tea Party, and in particular, a volley back against the NAACP for creating a week-long mainstream media-enabled attack built upon the provably false premise that a “mob” of the Tea Partiers hurled racial epithets at Congressmen Andre Carson (D-In) and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga).
“You are manufacturing this in a summer in which the economy is the No. 1 issue affecting blacks and whites in this country,” I said on Hennen’s show. “This country can ill-afford the schism of race to be exploited the way you are, based upon the false premise of the Tea Party being racist… This is absolutely manufactured for political gain.”
My warning to Jealous was received with modest coverage in the conservative blogosphere.
I strongly believed, and still believe, that I had irrefutable evidence that showed the NAACP caught in an act of racism far worse than anything the media and the Democrat Party had attempted to manufacture in a year and a half of relentlessly trying to destroy the Tea Party. (more…)
The Pigford Shakedown: How the Black Farmers’ Cause Was Hijacked by Politicians, Trial Lawyers & Community Organizers — Leaving Us With a Billion Dollar Tab
President Obama is expected to sign legislation authorizing the taxpayer-funded Pigford II Settlement. In the 1990s, a group of black farmers were compensated for past discrimination from the USDA. Pigford II will compensate individuals, who may or may not have been farmers, who came forward with claims after the initial settlement had closed. It is more than a bit suspicious.