This scandal dates to 2013 and is probably not known to the vast majority of you. There was no discrimination found during two different investigations. Finally, each farmer was awarded $50k each. But then Obama reopened the case and added many more people to be compensated including everyone living in an apartment complex. No one investigated whether the claims were real or not.
Companies and government agencies often try to settle lawsuits out of court. In many cases, they are much cheaper. That is until the powers that be in the government take over. The original bill on Pigford was introduced by Senator Barack Obama. The courts reviewed the case and eventually, the Supreme Court ruled that 91 farmers were deserving of settlements based on racial bias. No one can argue that was not fair. Discrimination did take place.
But in 2009, Bob Menendez threatened to shut down the settlement unless thousands of Hispanics were added to the pay-offs. Also that Obama then removed all conditions that were used to detect fraud. This is very reminiscent of the way he has handled welfare, food stamps, and many other government giveaways. The original 91 complainants were to receive 50k each for a total payout of $45,500,000. A lot of money. It was to correct the unfair practices of the past. Now with thousands of Hispanic and women farmers being added (even though they never made a complaint in 1997) are now eligible for payouts. Therefore the total set aside is 1.33 billion, which is 29.3 times the original settlement.
According to the New York Times, there have now been more claims than there was farms total, owned by whites, blacks, and Hispanic combined. All told, 90,000 claims have now been filed. Assuming that they all are accepted, will cost taxpayers 4.4 billion dollars. Certainly which is now almost 90 times the original amount to be paid out. The Times also pointed out that career lawyers within the government objected to adding any new claimants because there is no credible evidence that discrimination occurred. Indeed, you need almost nothing as proof of harm and denials are very few and far between.
Coincidentally, trial lawyers, who are one of the Democrats largest sugar daddies, will make about 130 million once the settlement is concluded. Quite possibly a lot more. Plus the payouts, legitimate or not will assure Democrats the undying loyalty of the fraudsters. Meanwhile, the taxpayers are left holding the bag. Evidently, the sequester does not apply here.
According to the Times:
“Two government reports that year found no evidence of ongoing, systemic discrimination. The Government Accountability Office reported that 16 percent of minority farmers were denied loans, compared with 10 percent of white farmers, but traced the difference to objective factors like bad credit. An Agriculture Department study also found “no consistent picture of disparity” over the previous two years.”
So farmers who didn’t get loans to bad credit are as eligible as those who were turned down for other reasons. And just who was in charge during the period in which discrimination is alleged? Bill Clinton. Daniel L Glickman, a Democrat was Sec of Ag in 1997. Shouldn’t he be held accountable for this mess? No congressional committee has addressed the Pigford settlement yet and that should be done posthaste. Call Glickman in and ask him how prevalent discrimination was in 1997 and why was it done.
Congress must pass rules, regulating payouts requiring proof the claimants were discriminated against. If they were denied loans because of bad credit, they must be removed from the settlement. Also, claimants must produce tax returns to prove they were working as farmers and didn’t just own a parcel of land. They should also be forced to produce applications for loans from 1997.
Also cited in the Times:
“Delton Wright, a Pine Bluff justice of the peace, recalled what happened after word of the settlement reached his impoverished region: “It just went wild. Some people took the money who didn’t even have a garden in the ground.” He added, “They didn’t make it hard at all, and that’s why people jumped on it.”
“On two floors of the Cotton Annex building in Washington, a 300-member team from the Farm Service Agency reviewed claims before adjudicators rendered their final decisions. In recent interviews, 15 current and former Agriculture Department employees who reviewed or responded to claims said the loose conditions for payment had opened the floodgates to fraud. ”
“It was the craziest thing I have ever seen,” one former high-ranking department official said. “We had applications for kids who were 4 or 5 years old. We had cases where every single member of the family applied.” The official added, “You couldn’t have designed it worse if you had tried.”
Fraud was obvious: In 16 ZIP codes in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and North Carolina the number of successful claimants exceeded the total number of farms operated by people of any race in 1997. The year the lawsuit was filed. Those applicants received nearly $100 million.
In Maple Hill, a struggling town in southeastern North Carolina, the number of people paid was nearly four times the total number of farms. More than one in nine African-American adults there received checks. In Little Rock, Ark., a confidential list of payments shows, 10 members of one extended family collected a total of $500,000. Also, dozens of other successful claimants shared addresses, phone numbers, or close family connections.
Thirty percent of all payments, totaling $290 million, went to predominantly urban counties — a phenomenon supporters of the settlement say reflects black farmers’ migration during the 15 years covered by the lawsuit. Only 11 percent, or $107 million, went to what the Agriculture Department classifies as “completely rural” counties.
Some 66,000 claims poured in after the 1999 deadline. Noting that the government had given “extensive” notice. Judge Friedman ruled the door closed to late filers. “That is simply how class actions work,” he wrote.
But it was not how politics worked. The next nine years brought a concerted effort to allow the late filers to seek awards. Career Agriculture Department officials warned that they might be even more problematic than initial claimants: in one ZIP code in Columbus, Ohio, nearly everyone in two adjoining apartment buildings had filed, according to the former high-ranking agency official.
Not one case of fraud has ever been prosecuted because Democrats set the bar so low. It was impossible to prove criminality. And once again the taxpayers have been sacrificed on the altar of Democratic fundraising.