Posted on CNSNews.com-By Susan Jones-On June 18, 2011:
“(CNSNews.com) - An effort to stop more than a billion dollars of taxpayer money from being redistributed to “anonymous claimants” failed in the House this week, but it may have set the stage for a congressional investigation.
Rep. Steve King’s amendment to block $1.15 billion allocated for the “fraud-plagued” Pigford II discrimination settlement with black farmers failed on a vote of 155-262 on Friday.
All 155 votes in favor of blocking the money came from Republicans. And 78 Republicans – including Reps. Darrell Issa (Calif.) and Alan West (Fla.) -- joined Democrats in killing the amendment. (See roll call)
Rep. King (R-Iowa) offered the amendment to an Agriculture Appropriations bill because of concerns about widespread fraud in the Agriculture Department’s second settlement with black farmers who claim they were discriminated against in getting USDA farm loans and benefits in the 16-year period from Jan. 1, 1981 to Dec. 31, 1996.
Although his amendment failed, King noted that 155 Members of Congress “are prepared to join me in pulling the plug on funding” for the settlement, dubbed “Pigford II” after the name of the lead plaintiff.
“In light of the strong showing of support for my effort to block funding for Pigford II, the House should now be prepared to initiate a Congressional investigation. The 155 votes my amendment received indicate that the stage has been set for this Congress to investigate Pigford II fraud fully,” King said.
As CNSNews.com previously reported, the federal government in 1999 paid out about $1 billion to 15,640 black farmers who claimed the USDA had discriminated against them by refusing to provide them with federally subsidized farm loans and benefits in the years 1981-1996.
In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama got another $100 million appropriated through that year’s farm bill to compensate African American farmers who alleged discrimination by USDA during the 1981-1996 period but had missed the 1999 filing deadline under the original Pigford case.
Then in 2010, President Barack Obama signed a bill awarding another $1.15 billion to African American farmers who supposedly missed the Pigford I deadline—and on top of the earlier $100 million. It is this $1.15 billion that Rep. King is seeking to block.
King has said the settlement with black farmers has morphed into a “modern-day slavery reparations programs.”
Critics also say the numbers don’t add up. Members of Congress and attorneys for the plaintiffs said there could be as many as 94,000 potential claimants for the $1.25 billion Pigford II settlement, but the U.S. Census Bureau reports that from 1981 to 1996, the number of African American farmers peaked at 33,000. As noted, more than 15,000 of them already have received settlements under Pigford I.
“How is it possible that (Agriculture) Secretary (Tom) Vilsack can identify 94,000 ‘victims’ of USDA discrimination against black farmers from a total universe of only 18,000 black farmers?” King asked on Friday.
“The original USDA estimate predicted that 3,000 of 18,000 black farmers would file a discrimination claim (under Pigford II). Now, Tom Vilsack and (Attorney General) Eric Holder have taken it upon themselves to negotiate a $1.15 billion agreement in Pigford II with the anonymous representatives of a universe of anonymous claimants that has swelled to 94,000. When added to the tab of the Pigford I settlement, this new $1.15 billion agreement brings the total taxpayer funded Pigford payout to $2.3 billion.”
King also sees Pigford II as a boon to lawyers:
“We do not have the list of all the attorneys who are collecting commissions as part of these settlements, but we do have video footage of one of them admitting that 10% of his clients are frauds. Despite this, Secretary Vilsack asserts there are only three cases of fraud in the 94,000 -- yet the USDA has not identified, let alone disciplined, a single employee who discriminated against even one of these 94,000.
“We’ve all heard the expression ‘victimless crime’, but now we have ‘crimeless victims’—individuals who, without basis for a grievance, claim to be victims even though no one can be identified as having discriminated against them.”
Note: The following articles and/or blog posts and video relate to this disturbing issue-You Decide:
I. No More Taxpayer Money to Settle ‘Fraudulent’ Pigford II Claims!
Posted on CNSNews.com-By Susan Jones-On June 16, 2011:
“(CNSNews.com) - A Republican lawmaker is trying to protect taxpayers from what he calls fraudulent racial discrimination claims filed against the government by black farmers.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on Wednesday filed an amendment to an Agriculture appropriations bill that would prevent any additional taxpayer money from being used to settle claims associated with the government’s “fraud-plagued Pigford II program.”
The money, King said, “is being used primarily to build political goodwill for the President.”
As CNSNews.com previously reported, the USDA allegedly discriminated against black farmers in dispensing federally funded farm loans between 1981 and 1996. In 1999, the federal government settled a class action suit brought against the government by black farmers. The case was dubbed “Pigford,” after the name of the lead plaintiff.
As a result of that Pigford settlement, the government eventually paid $1 billion in compensation to 15,640 claimants.
However, 73,800 additional people applied for compensation after the September 2000 filing deadline.
In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama managed to get $100 million included in the annual farm bill to pay compensation to black claimants who missed the September 2000 deadline in the original Pigford settlement.
But in February 2010, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Attorney General Eric Holder reached a new settlement with the black farmers — called “Pigford II”—to provide an additional $1.15 billion to black farmers, on top of Obama’s $100 million earmark.
In November 2010, the lame-duck Congress approved the $1.15 billion (to add to the $100 million Obama had inserted into the 2008 farm bill), making a total of $1.25 billion available to black farmers. Obama signed that funding bill into law late last year.
It is the $1.15 billion figure that concerns Rep. King:
“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,” King said on Wednesday.
“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.”
King said the House of Representatives, now led by Republicans, should not ratify the lame-duck Congress’s decision to increase American taxpayers’ exposure to the Pigford II “fraud.”
“I believe that an investigation into the program will reveal that the majority of the claims that have been filed are fraudulent, and Congress should not turn a blind eye to the real possibility that the money is being used primarily to build political goodwill for the President instead of being used to properly redress the much smaller universe of people who have actually suffered harm.
“If passed, my amendment would put the brakes on Pigford II funding, and it would prevent the Secretary of Agriculture from paying fraudulent claims one $50,000 check at a time.”
As CNSNews.com has reported, King and some other members of Congress believe that the USDA did in fact discriminate against black farmers in the period from 1981 through 1996. However, they are concerned that the number of people who have received compensation payments from the government, and who are anticipated to receive compensation under the new settlement, may significantly exceed the number of people who were actual victims of discrimination.”
IV. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley Supports ‘Dr.’ John Boyd!-Posted on Big Government-By Lee Stranahan-On April 13, 2011:
V. Pigford’s Harvest: ‘From the Feb. 21, 2010, issue of NR.’-Posted on National Review Online-By Daniel Foster-On February 17, 2011:
VI. Black Farmers Betrayed by Congressional Black Caucus!-Posted on Big Government-By Lee Stranahan-On January 18, 2011:
VII. Lawyer Admits Hundreds of Black Farmers Conned Govt-Posted on Big Government-By Lee Stranahan-On December 19, 2010:
VIII. A Black Farmer Blows the Whistle on the Black Farmer Settlement-Posted on Big Government-By Jimmy Dismuke-On December 6, 2010:
X. “Give Them the Wealth”: Obama’s Stealth Reparations!-Posted on Floyd Reports-By Ben Johnson-On October 20, 2011:
XI. Video: "500%" of Black US Farmers Sign Up for Reparations From Obama Administration Program!
XII. Obama Wants $1.25 B to Compensate up to 66,000 African American Farmers for USDA Discrimination in 1981-96; Census Says African American Farmers Peaked at 33,000 in Those Years!-Posted on CNSNews.com-By Nicholas Ballasy-On October 14, 2010:
XIII. Obama is sneaking “Reparations” by us to buy Black votes with our money-Posted on The Coach is Right-By Kevin “Coach” Collins-On September 2, 2010:
Note: My following blog posts contain numerous articles and/or blog posts and videos that relate to this disturbing issue-You Decide:
Should Shirley Sherrod's hiring by USDA be investigated?
President and DOJ have contributed to the racial mess in our country!
Note: If you have a problem viewing any of the listed blog posts please copy web site and paste it on your browser. Be aware that some of the articles and/or blog posts or videos listed within the contents of the above blog post(s) may have been removed by this administration because they may have considered them to be too controversial. Sure seems like any subject matter that may shed some negative light on this administration is being censored-What happened to free speech?-You Decide.
“Food For Thought”
God Bless the U.S.A.!