April 26, 2013

NYT exposé of the Pigford settlement "shows that it became a runaway train, driven by racial politics, pressure from influential members of Congress..."

"... and law firms that stand to gain more than $130 million in fees. In the past five years, it has grown to encompass a second group of African-Americans as well as Hispanic, female and Native American farmers. In all, more than 90,000 people have filed claims. The total cost could top $4.4 billion."
From the start, the claims process prompted allegations of widespread fraud and criticism that its very design encouraged people to lie: because relatively few records remained to verify accusations, claimants were not required to present documentary evidence that they had been unfairly treated or had even tried to farm. Agriculture Department reviewers found reams of suspicious claims, from nursery-school-age children and pockets of urban dwellers, sometimes in the same handwriting with nearly identical accounts of discrimination....

As a senator, Barack Obama supported expanding compensation for black farmers, and then as president he pressed for $1.15 billion to pay those new claims. Other groups quickly escalated their demands for similar treatment. In a letter to the White House in September 2009, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a leading Hispanic Democrat, threatened to mount a campaign “outside the Beltway” if Hispanic farmers were not compensated....
Read the whole thing.

ADDED: This is what we need big media for: "The Times’s examination was based on thousands of pages of court and confidential government documents, as well as interviews with dozens of claimants, lawyers, former and current government officials and others involved in the cases over the past 14 years. Many officials spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing rules against disclosing internal government deliberations and, in a few cases, the desire not to be drawn into a racially charged controversy." Thanks for this work.

IN THE COMMENTS: I am criticized for thanking the NYT. They should have been all over this story long ago. Why weren't they? And, another way to look at that question is: Why are they at it now?

103 comments:

Patrick said...

Should have a Breitbart tag.

BigFire said...

Yep. Breitbart was attacked for his expose on this particular public waste of money that the race hustlers was abusing.

SteveR said...

AKA "reparations"

YoungHegelian said...

Poorly policed federal government reparations scheme leads to oodles of bogus claims & calls from politicians to get their constituents on the gravy train?

Nooooooo! How can that so? That's just unheard of!

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that it goes beyond reparations. I see it as a naked political payoff to critical Obama constituencies, notably, of course, Blacks.

Synova said...

This is what we need Big Media for?

Because Breitbart was pushing this and was ignored.

But now he's dead the NYT has lost it's primary purpose... which was ignoring Breitbart... and can now do some journalism?

HA said...

The NY Times is racist.

Michael Haz said...

Big media? Not until Andrew Breitbart dug into this festering gargantuan misuse of taxpayer money.

Sequester this, Mr. President, not WH tours for grade school kids.

Patrick said...

I see it as a naked political payoff to critical Obama constituencies, notably, of course, Blacks

Well of course you do. That's exactly what was intended. Not spoken however, at least when it could've hurt the President.

traditionalguy said...

Corruption has been legal so long it seems strange to hear anyone cares. I don't believe the NYT cares. Unless it is a jealousy because the NE Urban areas are not getting a share of this corruption that only goes into southern rural areas.

Michael Haz said...

Billions of dollars of fraud, and who will be held accountable?

No one.

Why not just put up billboards at every road into DC that read

"Fuck You, Taxpayers!"

Titus said...

What about Drag Queen Farmers?

Do you know I met a guy in Wisconsin, who went out with a friend of mine (a girl) who told me he was the only Drag Queen Farmer in Wisconsin and would wear a long purple dress while on his tractor?

Sorun said...

Two of America's most racist entities: NAACP and Congressional Black Caucus. The Justice Dept. may not be far behind.

YoungHegelian said...

@Titus,

Did you ask your drag queen farmer acquaintance if he preferred Fall or Spring colors for his wardrobe?

furious_a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bpm4532 said...

A day late and a dollar short.

Or a few years, several billion dollars, and two presidential elections later...

Methadras said...

This is blatant voter payoff and in your face bribery. And no one gives a fuck. At this point, seriously, if you are working and paying taxes and you see a beggar or a panhandler or a piece of shit going on tv or in court to sue for money from the government, that is someone that needs to be outed and shamed for the parasites they are.

Nonapod said...

$50,000 is actually a deal if you're using modern values for 40 acres and a mule. According to USDA the average real estate value of farmland per acre is $2650, so 40 acres would be $106,000. Today a good mule might cost around $1500.

AJ Lynch said...

We need to take away the checkbooks from the Beltway thieves. I saw yesterday we paid almost a million in bank fees for govt bank accts that had zero balances. There were something like 50,000 accts with zero balances! WTF does the federal govt even need 5,000 bank accts? The country is being run by incompetent imbeciles.

furious_a said...

This is what we need big media for...

...except that Breitbart was calling out the Pigford frauds more than two years ago..

The checks have been cut and cashed already -- good luck clawing them back

Tim said...

It will get better, of course, when the government runs our health care.

Just because.

Icepick said...

I think that it goes beyond reparations. I see it as a naked political payoff to critical Obama constituencies, notably, of course, Blacks.

Paying off the lawyers is more important. The blacks will vote for the Democrat no matter what, but the lawyers can always threaten to withhold contributions if not satisfied.

X said...

that bitch Shirley Sherrod set Barack up!

Tim said...

It will get better, of course, when the government runs our health care.

Just because.

chuck said...

Makes one wonder if paying taxes is patriotic or a suckers game. I'm leaning towards the second these days.

Shanna said...

Thanks for this work.

Yeah. Only two years late! Congrats for getting around to it eventually, though.

Leit Bart said...

@Synova and @Michael Haz are precisely right. Breitbart exposed this in 2010 and he was vilified by "big media." The NYT is way late to this wretched party.

http://legalinsurrection.com/2013/04/andrew-breitbart-vindicated-on-pigford-after-years-of-attacks-from-media-matters-and-others/

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2011/02/10/pigford-breitbarts-eight-month-smear-campaign-a/176249

bpm4532 said...

We can't keep giving these people more money to spend. Flat-line aggregate spending at last year's level for about 5 years. Let them fight among themselves for it, but no more money!

Big Mike said...

$4.4B would have paid for a lot of school lunches for poor kids

bpm4532 said...

If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one to hear, is there sound?

If the NY Times doesn't print it, is there a story?

roesch/voltaire said...

Another solid job of detailed reporting by the NYT. It did spin off into a rip off of tax payers.

phunktor said...

And it will be "old news" come election time...

CWJ said...

I don't know. Maybe AA's "Added" was meant to have a sarcasm tag. At least I hope so. The italic "This" through me off.

CWJ said...

Threw not through. I hate auto incorrect.

Drago said...

RV: "Another solid job of detailed reporting by the NYT."

Mere years late and long after the facts were plain to anyone who would look at them.

A set of facts for which Andrew Breitbart was called racist for simply noticing.

And reported by the NYT long, long after the facts might have been useful to voters and long after all the damage has been done.

Other than that, heckuva job NYT.

Not a moment too soon.

And Duranty's Pulitzer still hangs proudly in the NYY wall of pulitzers.

Synova said...

From Media Matters (wow, I'd never read their articles before... and they were pretending to be honest news?)

So... Brietbart said that Sherrod getting fired was because they didn't want anyone looking at Pigford... they just wanted it gone.

"This response was pathetically self-serving, and obviously false on its face. And indeed, in October, when the Los Angeles Times obtained "hundreds of pages of e-mails" related to Sherrod's firing, those emails revealed that she had been fired because of the administration's misunderstanding of what the deceptively edited Breitbart video showed of her speech. The Times article makes no mention of any ulterior, conspiratorial Pigford-related motive."

So because the Times didn't mention it... no one need question it.

But how many of us, me, others... how many of us were shocked that she got fired? Sure, I figured it was just really crappy "under-the-bus" style management to fire someone so quickly, far too quickly to have done even a basic measure of investigation. Yeah, sure, Breitbart's "deceptively edited video" made her look pretty bad (though a lot of people expressed that what was bad about it was how the whole audience laughed at her story, like it was *funny*, and no amount of "editing" changes that part) but the reaction by the administration was freakishly out of proportion, at least in regard to the sheer *speed* of it.

So why wouldn't Brietbart suspect that something else was going on?

Pogo said...
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Pogo said...

Obamaphone, Obamafarm.
No difference.
Both engender charges of racism for complaining.

It is increasingly clear that taxpayers are just stupid milch cows to the US government.

CWJ said...

R/V since you said another sold job, I'm curious. What was the first one? ;)

Debbie Andrews said...

$4.4 billion is the cost of crying racism, according to the Free Beacon.

AllenS said...

I've posted this data before, but in case you didn't notice it, here it is again. There's more than just farm subsidies here. There's subisidies for just about everything.

Pick a state.

Marshal said...
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Marshal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marshal said...

X said...
that bitch Shirley Sherrod set Barack up!

Admitted racist Shirley Sherrod received ~330k in payouts from the program, and was then hired into it. What are the chances she was one of the 4 employees slipping unapproved applications into the "sign for disbursement" stack?

But that's Shirley, martyr of the left.

John said...

Ann said

"This is what we need big media for"

At the risk of being repetitive BULLSHIT!

As several others have mentioned, this is an old story. Breitbart and others were all over it 2-3 years ago. Where was the NY Times? Off sucking their collective thumb pretending the story did not exist.

Instead of praising the NYT for running the story, you should be excoriating them for NOT running the story back when it came out (2-3 years ago)

The only good thing about the NYT running this story now is that it may indicates that they no longer care about covering Obama's ass for him.

Thanks for nothing, Pinch et al.

John Henry

Marshal said...

Synova said...
but the reaction by the administration was freakishly out of proportion, at least in regard to the sheer *speed* of it.


Racially discriminating in administering a government program isn't that big a deal?

dreams said...

Money attracts crooks, they go where the money is.

Marshal said...

roesch/voltaire said...
It did spin off into a rip off of tax payers.


I see the leftists are desperately minimizing the issue. It didn't spin off into a ripoff. It was conceived and executed as a ripoff. This is particularly clear from the government's choice to settle the second case.

edutcher said...

The usual suspects.

Menendez on of The Gang trying to push IllegalCare.

Not entirely OT:

IN officials guilt in vote fraud for Choom and the Hildabeast.

(OK, '08, but looks like they had an early start they)

chrisnavin.com said...

I'm with Althouse, we've got to encourage this kind of journalism whereever we find it, in addition to saying "I told you so."

One of the reasons the media is so hated is that it's model has been undercut by technology, exposing its biases for what they are.

Conservative media isn't reaching quite the standards of professionalism and fact-checking, so if you don't like that, do something about it so the liberal Left doesn't control the message.

There's a valuable service that only people with more resources working towards some conception of the common good, however its politically and ideologically motivated, can do.

We need to keep an eye on politicians, pork, boondoggles, bureaucracy, big money and sometimes, yes, big business.

As for Pigford, who couldn't see such fraud coming from a mile away.

Thanks to Breitbart as well, for battling the currents.

Synova said...

Marshall... Remember the video? Sherrod was telling a "funny story" about discriminating against a white farmer... according to her, later in the talk she explained that she repented, more or less, and made sure the white man found someone else to help him (or something like that). I think that part was included in the video, too, later. Which is where the fuss about "deceptively edited" comes in. Not that I think it was deceptive. After all, racial discrimination is not a "funny story" is it.

And so MediaMatters (as seen in the link) and others are foaming at the mouth about how Brietbart got her fired by lying and I'm all.... how is that possible?

Right?

Because if you've got an employee who gets some really bad press don't you ask them WTF happened? Don't you?

But what we were TOLD (and the Media Matters article doubles down on) is that she got fired because her bosses were misled by Brietbart... he forced their hand. And nearly the next morning too.

Because what anyone paying attention to the world would expect is administrative leave while an investigation takes place. The administrative leave to CYA publicly, "See, we're taking this seriously!" And time to either weather the temporary media storm or else to find out what happened or not.

Her getting fired so fast was BIZARRE.

Hagar said...

Pigford started with a group of 400, or so, Black farmers in south Georgia suing for discrimination by that area office of the USDA. Not all of these were approved by the court, and the final settlement was estimated not to exceed $20 million, I think including costs.

The estimated cost now, including this latest scheme from the Dept. of Justice, is $4.4 billion, so that the original cost is not even a rounding error in this gigantic Government sponsored fraud.

As I posted before, some folks need to be impeached and then prosecuted.

pm317 said...

ADDED: This is what we need big media for:

They are a day late and dollar short. Anti-Obama sites like Hillbuzz were talking about this during Obama's first term and his part in making it a runaway train. NYT, conveniently puts it out now after he is safely elected.

Synova said...

As for encouraging this sort of good journalism... yes, of course we must.

But do we really give the NYT a pass because they didn't get on this sooner, when it might have actually hurt Obama?

This investigation took over two years? Really?

But now Obama is safely elected again, and is done for in 2016 no matter what, now the media has, to borrow a phrase... more flexibility.

garage mahal said...

The estimated cost now, including this latest scheme from the Dept. of Justice, is $4.4 billion, so that the original cost is not even a rounding error in this gigantic Government sponsored fraud

Or, about two weeks worth of that excellent Iraq adventure. Who got rich from that?

Amartel said...

Pig Media is very late to this party. How much tax payer money must be wasted (during a Democrat administration) before Pig Media gets interested?

Amartel said...

Why now?

Synova said...

whether

*sigh*

Brew Master said...

Ann, this is extremely disappointing that you are crediting the NYT with this.

Breitbart who? I suppose is your response.

Very disappointing.

Synova said...

Yay, garage!

So... anything less than the expense of the Iraq war is... to be ignored?

Or can you just find no other way to disagree with what is the obvious right side of this issue?

Hagar said...

At the time Breitbart had no idea of the scale of the Pigford fraud scheme. He was just after the NAACP leaders' reaction to Sherrod's story.

And this is way beyond any "politcal payoff." This is run-away ideologues in the Federal Government colluding with crooked lawyers to shovel ut money to people who have not even asked for it!

Synova said...

4.4 Billion is enough to get us to Mars... twice.

Synova said...

"He was just after the NAACP leaders' reaction to Sherrod's story."

That was my impression at the time... the video clip was meant to show how *funny* the NAACP leadership thought racial discrimination against a poor white farmer was.

I think that Breitbart thought that was the story... until they panicked and tossed Sherrod under the bus and it was... what are they hiding?

Hagar said...

And in the Dept. of Justice no less!

AprilApple said...

The Iraq war was sanctioned by congress - both parties. Out in the open.

CWJ said...

chrisnavin.com,

Message received and understood. I'm sympathetic and can agree that we need to encourage responsible behaviour on the part of the MSM. Your point is sound. Unlike a dog, rubbing their nose in it won't work. OTOH, what will??

It truly feels more similar to praising the dog for not shitting the carpet after the umpteenth offence rather than making any lasting housebreaking progress.

AprilApple said...

The Iraq War, therefore all forms of corruption, lies and tax payer fraud by the D-administration are A-OK!

AprilApple said...

If the media spent a fraction of their efforts uncovering the crony capitalism that is going on under Obama, perhaps the public would understand why our economic future is so grim.

wait. What am I saying? All hail the king. I grovel before thee.

garage mahal said...

The Iraq war was sanctioned by congress - both parties. Out in the open.

Same with Pigford.

Patrick said...

In other news, the Pack signed Aaron Rodgers to a five year $110 million dollar deal.

Synova said...

Betcha Pigford never passed a vote of both houses.

Honest, garage, it was a court settlement. The idea that administering that settlement involved a vote of congress is just silly.

MayBee said...

Congratulations to Lee Stranahan and Andrew Breitbart. And Patterico, who introduced them.

garage mahal said...

The idea that administering that settlement involved a vote of congress is just silly.

There were six votes on the farm bill, including two by the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto by Bush. Congress in 2010 appropriated $1.15 billion.

Hagar said...

@Garage,

That's a pretty weak response(s) when we are talking about Bernie Madoff scale frauds arising withen the USDA and the USDoJ!

CWJ said...

In the open same as Pigford.

Because Pigford was driven by an attack that left 3,000 people dead. Because Pigford was in the news every day up to its enactment. Because Pigford was on the minds of every American both pro and con. Because Pigford was brought before the international community in the UN for approval.

Garage, I'm breaking my self imposed vow to not engage you because your sense of equivalence is not merely misguided but downright idiotic.

Sam L. said...

I am shocked, SHOCKED, to find...

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Am I wrong in this? If the Feral Gummit was not involved in loans to begin with, there would be no claims of preferential treatment, hence no need for remedial handouts.

The size and power of Government must be reduced.

garage mahal said...

Garage, I'm breaking my self imposed vow to not engage you because your sense of equivalence is not merely misguided but downright idiotic.

4.4 billion versus how many trillions for Iraq? Plus thousands dead and tens of thousands wounded.

The Pentagon LOST more than 4.4 billion inside Iraq

Lem said...

Why are they at it now?

Out of all the damaging skeletons in Obamas closet this is a coffin that he cant be directly nailed for.

I heard that mixed metaphor? last night on the radio in an interview with distinguished professor Richard A. Epstein and I liked it

Starting at 18:30

CWJ said...

Garage, I rest my case.

ricpic said...

We need to take away the checkbooks from the beltway thieves.

That would require calling a spade a spade. Where do you see the courage to take that one first step? Even among the tiny number of genuine conservatives in congress, any statement that hints at the endemic corruption and thievery inside the beltway is immediately softened by the assurance that the conservative cares about you too and won't take away your rice bowl. What this tells me is that professional politicians, all of them, have taken the measure of the American People and come to the conclusion that IT DOESN'T WANT THE TRUTH. Keep cutting up the goose as long as I get my piece is the order, or the ethos, of the day.

Synova said...

So what garage... We ignore fraud and graft and waste? All of it. Forever?

Because nothing is as bad as Iraq?

Achilles said...

garage mahal said...

"Garage, I'm breaking my self imposed vow to not engage you because your sense of equivalence is not merely misguided but downright idiotic.

4.4 billion versus how many trillions for Iraq? Plus thousands dead and tens of thousands wounded.

The Pentagon LOST more than 4.4 billion inside Iraq"

4/26/13, 5:48 PM

As an OIF Veteran, your equivocation of the Iraq war to fraud is offensive. Not just fake offensive where you make up some sort of slight that was not intended. Offensive from the point of view of someone who went to that country, got shot at, carried friends off on stretchers, and stood in formation in front of a pair of boots with a gun and a helmet posted up while team mates and leadership told us how great a soldier the person wearing them was.

Shit happens and there are dumbass bureaucrats in the army and DOD that fuck up just like every other organization. But what we did was not fraud. And before you throw that bullshit about supporting the troops but not the mission the vast majority of us supported that mission and were volunteers after the wars started.

We supported that mission and take pride in the good we accomplished. Iraq is as free and "democratic" as any Muslim state east of Malaysia. Girls get to go to school there sometimes. Having some little shit sit back and fling poo at what we did who takes for granted the freedoms we gave those people a chance at is disgusting. I hope you are a decent enough person to retract your statements and ponder what you are saying.

Methadras said...

Let's just say for the sake of argument that these people get paid off. Is there any paperwork that says if they receive and accept payment that they can never against open their giant gobs to complain about anything ever again?

Chip Ahoy said...

Lem, that's hilarious.

But they're connected logically

skeleton --> coffin --> nails

I want to play too.

Letting the dead dog lie doesn't work because it rises like a phoenix and bites him on the butt.

No wait wait wait, this dog don't hunt because it's barking up the wrong tree and not in this fight.

Methadras said...

The wolves in Washington would rather do these dealings without anyone knowing about it, but even if they are exposed, still no one gives a shit. It's going on in broad daylight and the media and the left give it a pass. What further proof do you need that leftism is a menace to the world?

Marshal said...

Synova,

She admitted to stopping her illegal discrimination at some point. How does that absolve her of blame for doing it in the first place? If your accountant embezzles from you do you accept that she's not doing it any more in lieu of firing them?

They could have chosen to investigate, but since she admitted the offense it wasn't necessary.

David said...

I did not need to read the whole thing. I read quite a bit about Pigford when it hit the news during Obama's first campaign for the Presidency. It was very clear that this is a big time scam.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Remember also that state attorneys general are also perfecting this technique and making millionaires of their contributors by supporting and paying private lawyers to bring claims of doubtful value. Pigford has the overlay of race, but it's in a grand tradition. The power of the trial lawyers is no myth.

Drago said...

garage: "Who got rich from that? "

Why don't you tell us?

Phil 3:14 said...

Timely

Dante said...

Heh. I think we would be better off without NYT's damage, even with this.

And I don't think you need "Big Newspapers" to do this. Project Veritas has had some pretty big effects by exposing corruption in Acorn, voting, etc.

And there is a guy called Steve McIntyre who is nearly single-handedly taking down the stupid AGW Paleo reconstructions. He is a retired statistician, and does it for fun.

Though it's a shame big Newspapers don't do this kind of stuff. I remember the San Jose Mercury News did a great article on the Marco's and brought them down. That was the last great article I read from them. They were going to tackle illegals and the integration issues, but they failed.

Darleen said...

Maybe the NYTimes will cover the Gosnell trial in 2015 and vet Obama about 2017.

Mitch H. said...

The NYT is parasitical on Lee Stranahan and the Breitbart agglomerate. Literally, the legwork was done by the Stranahan et al, not the NYT, who only contributed status and attention to what was done for them.

Another solid job of detailed reporting by the NYT. It did spin off into a rip off of tax payers.

r/v, you biased shit. Nothing exists unless the proper aristocratic shits take a piss over it, does it? Worthless, miserable, ignorant toad. I see garage is waving his hands, trying to get people to pay attention to that squirrel over there. Makes me wonder what Pigford-type payoff pays garage's livelihood. Probably not anything USDA related, he's not that useful a corruptocrat. What is it that garage does for a living? I'm guessing some sort of parasitical attachment to the bloated education budget, he smells of that sort of uselessness and remote corruption, the sort of vile parasite who lives at a safe remove from the source of his parasitism. Allows them to pretend to a sort of elevated aristocratic status, unstained by the evil which pays their mortgages.

Dante said...

4.4 billion versus how many trillions for Iraq? Plus thousands dead and tens of thousands wounded.

How much is the world economy worth? I think the intent of the Iraq war was to stabilize the region. Whether it did that or not is probably not possible to know, but it stopped the French from dismantling our efforts there, and the oil is flowing. Personally, I would prefer the US to stop the insanity and start developing our own resources. The trillions you reference could have been used to go after our massive shale oil reserves, and done some pretty good things for the economy.

Too bad there are so many luddite greenies in the country that have no clue how important oil is to the world, including making food for very poor nations.

El Pollo Real said...

Chirbit: Hey You White House, Ha Ha Sherrod You Are

NotquiteunBuckley said...

This is what we need big media for:

This is why Andrew Breitbart created the Big sites.

bagoh20 said...

"This is what we need big media for..."

Really? Let's say you never read big media, ever, but had a healthy skepticism about all such handouts that are based on self-reported claims by "aggrieved minorities", and a basic knowledge of the history of such programs. Do you doubt that any such a person could readily identify programs with extensive fraud and corruption?

You could flip a coin with heads it's corrupt and tails it's not, and get it right half the time, which probably beats big media's average.

This is a big problem with our electorate, they aren't smart enough to be skeptical, despite extensive evidence that government programs are overwhelmingly corrupt and filled with fraud. Give me a few that are not? I'm drawing a blank out of the thousands and thousands we fund continuously, mostly without any real oversight.

bagoh20 said...

This is a dog bites bone story.

bob said...

but remember, we need to make the rich pay their fair share so this crap can continue.

MarkD said...

So the insanity stopped and we suckers got or money back? No, the only enforcement mechanism would be shame, and politicians have none.

Horse, barn door. Like Fisker, Solyndra, and all the other opportunities to raid the treasury in return for campaign contributions.

Hagar said...

This is the DoJ with the full approval of the present Attorney General.

So who is going to prosecute?

jr565 said...

All praise Breitbart.

El Pollo Real said...

Is there any turning off the spigot without being called a bigot?