Let’s Not Forget About Pigford
With the multitude of scandals that have plagued the Obama administration (which have been ignored by the media), it’s easy to lose track. So, here’s a quick reminder (from Matt Walsh’s excellent “letter” to Prezzi Obama), and then an update.
Every president has a moment that encapsulates their time in office; your moment, Mr. President, happened this week [closing the monuments for no good reason]. Sure, future generations will look at you with mockery and scorn because of bigger scandals — Benghazi, the IRS targeting conservatives, Obamacare, the birth control mandate and your attacks on religious liberty, spying on journalists, arming terrorists overseas, Fast and Furious, the green energy scams, the bailouts, your support for infanticide, the billions you’ve given to the abortion industry, your cowardice in refusing to address the Gosnell murders, your reckless exploitation of the Zimmerman trial, the out of control deficit spending, your refusal to enforce immigration laws, the massive expansion of the Welfare State, the lies, the broken promises, etc
But Pigford is sort of one of the forgotten scandals. Certainly Pigford began way before Obama was in office, but his support for it goes way back, and continues to this day. The American Thinker:
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. Both have had knowledge since the court ruled on the Pigford lawsuit; in 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama supported and voted for the funding of the initial settlement. Since then, Eric Holder (and Obama) have been involved in overseeing and managing the Pigford “judgment fund.”
And then there was Pigford 2, which was completely Obama’s baby.
Pigford #2 is the appellation used to identify an expanded payment regime that funds more payments to African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and females. This regimen grew out of the fact that thousands of claimants missed the original Pigford #1 filing deadline of October 12, 1999. Interestingly, Native American potential claimants were estimated at 5,300, while plaintiff lawyers pegged the exposure at an estimated 19,000 Native Americans. The judgment fund announced by Agricultural Secretary Thomas Vilsack and Eric Holder in 2010 was expanded from just over $120 million to $1.25 billion, given the expectation of many more filers.
Basically, all you had to do was say that you wanted to farm, but were prevented from doing so because of racism or sexism, and you got some of the Obama money.
Fraud was endemic to the claims process — for example, every apartment in a New York City building received a settlement of at least $50,000. Further, some families received checks of $50,000 for each family member (see the NYT’s fraud identification narrative of 4-26-13). These payments were dispensed by the judgment fund’s monitor, whose management and control fell to the Executive Branch and Justice Department. Due to the application vetting process, the payouts were criticized by both Representative Steve King (D-IA) and journalist Andrew Breitbart as payoffs to Obama’s/Democrats’ preferred groups to gain a favored political position with those entities.
Don’t believe that it was a scam? Then take a look at this graph.
There is one more update to this story. Shirley Sherrod is being represented for free by Kirkland and Ellis. You see, Sherrod is suing Andrew Breitbart’s widow for the horrible (but true) things he said about her.
Sherrod is not poor – her husband received $13,000,000 as part of a Pigford settlement.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this lawsuit comes just as things are starting to heat up in the Pigford investigation. Mrs. Sherrod is connected to Pigford. She’s the largest recipient of a Pigford claim; she, her husband Charles Sherrod and the New Communities farm won over thirteen million dollars while most other farmers only got $50,000. Mrs. Sherrod was hired by the USDA after this award. Prior to being hired, she worked to help keep angry black farmers from pulling out of the lawsuit after they objected to the terms of the consent decree. And despite her hero status with many, the farmers I have personally interviewed about Mrs. Sherrod have decidedly mixed feelings about her.
This entire thing is disgusting. Andrew Breibart brought sunlight into this horrible waste and fraud, and now his widow is being attacked.
Hope and Change, folks.