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Michele Bachmann And Pigford: Good, But Room For Improvement
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), running for the GOP Presidential nomination, is now leading in Iowa and has gained dramatically nationwide, according to polls released Wednesday.[Poll: Bachmann Expands Lead in Iowa, by Kyle Adams, Realclearpolitics.com, July 13, 2011; Bachmann surges in national poll, Perry Makes strong debut, by Alexis Levinson, Daily Caller, July 13, 2011.]
This is in some ways the mirror image of the situation that obtained last time I wrote in VDARE.com about the Pigford scandal—the series of sweetheart deals by which hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars have been lavished on blacks who make questionable claims they were (a) farmers and (b) discriminated against by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
I pointed out that Barack Obama, then well on his way to being elected President, had sponsored legislation to change the rules to give fraudulent claimants another bite at the apple. [Obama Furthered “Black Farmer” Scam, September 9, 2008].
Bachman too has a Pigford record—greatly to her credit, along with Steve King (R-IA), she has raised the issue of rampant fraud in the Pigford settlement, which even the Government Accounting Office has documented.
But just as Bachmann has a good patriotic immigration reform record but has failed to use the issue in the campaign to date, so also, no doubt fearful of being called "racist"(which they will be regardless), she and her allies like Steve King have adopted a strategy of claiming that actual black farmers involved in the suits really were mistreated by USDA—and that only the tens, and eventually hundreds of thousands, trying to collect $50,000 payments by untruthfully claiming they "attempted to farm" were the real frauds.
In fact, however, I am assured by sources within USDA that the claims of most "real" farmers in the Pigford settlement were just as fraudulent, and that some of those recently spotlighted as "victims" in the first round of payments actually won their claims, and are only continuing to complain because they want still more in reparations.
Indeed, the Obama-sponsored law allowing these suits to be pursued after expiration of the statute of limitations also limits participation only to those who had filed a discrimination complaint with USDA prior to July 1, 1997. USDA records show that fewer than 1,000 people filed such complaints. But the Obama Justice Department boldly ignores this statutory limitation and has eagerly opened the door to anyone who wants to slop at the trough.
The Obama Administration says USDA records are incomplete. I don’t believe that. But, even if it’s true, it would not be unreasonable or unfair for the government to ask someone claiming to meet that qualification to provide some basic modicum of proof before it hands over $50,000, plus $12,500 in tax payments, or more to claimants (and fees, of course, to their lawyers).
Instead, Eric Holder’s "Justice" Department encourages fraud by not requiring any claimant to provide a single piece of paper actually documenting compliance with the law—and, at the same time, Holder’s settlements bar USDA from challenging any claim, no matter how obviously false or fantastic.
Pigford is only the beginning. There are also Indian (Keepseagle, $760 million), Hispanic (Garcia) and female (Love) USDA "discrimination" lawsuits. Garcia and Love were floundering in the courts, but were rescued by Obama and Holder at a cost of $1.3 billion. Perhaps gays are next. Martians. Who knows what trial lawyers/Democratic Party strategists are capable of dreaming up?
Bachmann, King, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte are well aware of this. But they have not opposed Pigford in principle as a racial racket—the one approach that could stop this outrage dead in its tracks.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), now head of the House Judiciary Committee, promised last fall that he would hold hearings on fraud in these lawsuits. But he has not done so.
Bottom line: over Pigford, Michele Bachmann has shown the courage to be President—and, perhaps, the necessary cowardice (prudence/ pragmatism) also.
And Pigford may not be over. Last year, Andrew Breitbart reignited the issue by posting a video of a black USDA employee, Shirley Sherrod, gloating about discriminating against whites before concluding that the real enemy was capitalism, The Man etc.
As I documented five years ago in The Rest Of The Story: Fraud and Murder Follows "Black Farmer" Consent Decree, the program is a rats’ nest of scandal. Bachmann may get the chance to find her courage yet.
Louis T. March, J.D. is a former U.S. Senate aide and veteran conservative activist. He is the author of Harvest of Lies, The Black Farmer Lawsuit Against the U.S. Department of Agriculture.