December 11, 2010

The Pigford Scam from start to finish

Abraxis writing at Uncoverage outlines the Pigford scam from the beginning to present. A long read but an excellent one and well documented. Be sure to remove breakable objects from your immediate vicinity -- this is RCOB material...
The �Pigford� Fraud on the American Taxpayer
On December 12, 1996, a handful of black farmers, led by John Boyd (founder of the �National Black Farmers Association�) gathered on the frozen grass of Lafayette Park across from the White House to protest what they claimed was widespread racial discrimination by the USDA against black farmers. This protest prompted President Clinton to pressure then Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman to investigate if these claims were true.

Glickman promptly suspended all government farm foreclosures pending the outcome of a �listening tour� the following month (January 1997) in which Civil Rights Actions Teams (�CRAT�) traveled across the country gathering information on whether the black farmers� claims were true. While the investigation discovered that only 205 claims (two-tenths of one percent) out of a total of 116,261 loans and crop payments issued by the USDA�s Farm Service Agency had triggered complaints by black farmers, the 120-page report (�Civil Rights at the United States Department of Agriculture�) stated there was widespread discrimination against black farmers.

In August 1997, black farmer Timothy Pigford of North Carolina filed �Pigford v. Glickman� in the U.S. District Court.[1] (A second lawsuit was filed by another black farmer from North Carolina named Cecil Brewington. Both cases were subsequently joined together as simply �Pigford�.) The suit initially listed 400 black farmers but the number quickly grew to more than 2,000.

In response to the lawsuit, the Department of Justice requested a stay (halt of the proceedings) in order to investigate each claim individually. But U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman (a Clinton appointee) put a stop to the DOJ�s investigation by certifying �Pigford� as a class action lawsuit on October 9, 1998. The judge then set a trial date of February 1, 1999.

The certification of �Pigford� as a class action case made the USDA vulnerable to huge monetary payouts; however, the USDA had two means of preventing this: sovereign immunity and the statute of limitations.
Of course, the "sovereign immunity" and the "statute of limitations" were circumvented. A large payout wound up in September of 2004 but in August 2007, (from the article):
Senator Barack Obama introduced S.1989, a resolution demanding the �Pigford� consent decree be overturned and the case reopened to allow more black farmers to apply. Considering that Obama�s state of Illinois only had 171 black farmers at the time of his filing, Obama�s championing of �Pigford� would appear to be a little curious. But the curiosity lessens when one realizes that at that moment he filed this resolution, Obama was trailing Hillary Clinton in the polls as both vied for the Democratic nomination for President. At that time in late 2007, the polls showed that more than half of the black voters favored Hillary Clinton over Obama. But then Obama introduced S.1989.
This opened the floodgates to an additional $1.25 Billion in 80,000 claims. The 2007 US Census of Agriculture showed 32,938 black owned farms. Shirley Sherrod makes an appearance and indeed, her 15 minutes of fame were what brought the Pigford story to light. The Sherrod family won a claim of $13 Million. Incredible stuff -- a scandal and shakedown of unreal scope. Posted by DaveH at December 11, 2010 8:15 PM
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