Tomorrow, President Obama will sign a bill providing $1.15 billion in funding for the Pigford II settlement, which would provide $50,000 payments for tens of thousands of claimants in a discrimination case involving the U.S. Department of Agriculture and black farmers. The settlement funding has all the hallmarks of a massive fraud perpetrated on the American taxpayer, given that the current tally of 94,000 claimants is five times the size of the estimated 18,000 total black farmers existing at the time of the alleged discrimination.
To date, the Pigford case has not become a major national scandal despite its having come near the surface during the Shirley Sherrod kerfuffle. But the originator of the controversy surrounding Sherrod and her firing, Andrew Breitbart, has seized upon Pigford and is ramping up a series of exposes on what seems destined to provoke an outrage.
Breitbart has a substantial piece up at BigGovernment.com today, detailing his involvement in the Shirley Sherrod case and pointing out that the introduction of the video containing her story of initially refusing to help a white farmer for racial reasons wasn’t meant to provoke her firing or brand her a racist. Instead, Breitbart’s point was to show that the NAACP audience’s reaction to the story, which could be described as gleeful when she discussed her inclinations to refuse the white farmer, paint that organization as every bit as racist as it accuses the Tea Party of being.
But more than that, Breitbart notes that it wasn’t the NAACP tape which lay underneath Sherrod’s firing. Rather, it was Pigford. And the more BigGovernment.com investigated that case, the more it became obvious what an enormous scam is being perpetrated.
I started to research Pigford and the more we looked into it, the more I realized that this was not a story that could be researched and told quickly. In fact, it was still unfolding. And even now, it still is.
This coming Wednesday, President Obama is slated to sign the Pigford II settlement.
But that will not be the end of the story. The American people deserve a full investigation and accounting.
Today, we’re releasing a report called “The Pigford Shakedown: How the Black Farmers’ Cause Was Hijacked by Politicians, Trial Lawyers & Community Organizers — Leaving Us With a Billion Dollar Tab.”
What have we discovered about Pigford so far?
Treasure troves of information from Lexis and Google. USDA whistleblowers. A former FBI agent who was on the verge of indictments. One of the originally discriminated-against black farmers with the goods. All these people paint a very clear picture of widespread fraud, and can testify to a complex web of bad players, including politicians, trial attorneys and community organizers.
I stumbled on the Pigford story in my defense of the Tea Party, so it’s a sweet irony that the Pigford story is exactly the kind of mess that makes the Tea Party so necessary. Politicians and trial attorneys bonded together to rip off the taxpayer, and even those farmers that were discriminated against were royally screwed.
Let me be clear, our investigation convincingly leads us to believe the USDA practiced discrimination against black farmers. Those wrongs must be rectified. But Pigford is wrought with a grotesque amount of fraud, while the truly aggrieved were mostly left high and dry.
The Pigford tale is about government run amok. It is also an indictment of the American media that is so blinded by ideology that it missed the big story yet again because taking out a political enemy was far more expedient. And furthermore it is why the American people need the Tea Party and new media as a checks and balances on corrupt politicians and their corrupt journalist counterparts.
Today will be the first of many days that BigGoverment.com will release information, testimony and documents to make the case that, at the very least, the American taxpayer (and ESPECIALLY those legitimately discriminated-against black farmers) need a full accounting of the Pigford I and II settlements.