Former Secretary of Agriculture: More Claims Than Farmers; No One Fired at USDA: Something Just Doesn’t Add Up!
Posted Dec 6th 2010 at 12:21 pm
by Ed Schafer
I am shocked by the recent passage of legislation by the US Congress that provides a settlement for discrimination lawsuits filed by black farmers against the United States Department of Agriculture. With today’s focus on deficit spending and unaffordable government debt, Congress has decided to double the amount of dollars spent to date to settle these claims. Given the fact that there are more claims of discrimination than there are black farmers, I wonder if members of Congress knew the facts if they would have voted to spend another $1.2 Billion to settle claims.
After my nomination and subsequent unanimous confirmation as Secretary of USDA, I set about to learn as much about the Department as fast as I could. One initial briefing was by the Under-Secretary for Civil Rights.
Included was a brief on several class lawsuits against the Department alleging discrimination against minority farmers. Also, it was noted that there were allegations of the Department dragging its feet in getting claims accredited and processed for the court ordered settlement with black farmers in the Pigford class action litigation. I soon had several visits from organizations representing black farmers urging me to settle all claims quickly.
I was concerned about the Department’s handling of discrimination claims and asked that the paperwork be expedited. It was then that I was made aware that there were possibly many claims that were fraudulent and much due diligence was warranted. Understanding that validation and verification of the claims slowed down the process, it was felt that since taxpayers money was at stake that investigations into the propriety of claims were prudent and warranted.
I was surprised that over one billion dollars had already been distributed to aggrieved farmers and there were still so many open applications. It just doesn’t seem possible that with somewhere between 18,000 and 33,000 black farmers in the country there could be more than 90,000 claims of discrimination by the USDA. If that many farmers were discriminated against it would mean that the whole Department had a massive conspiracy against black farmers. Wouldn’t you think if that many incidences of discrimination actually took place the perpetrators would have to be pretty visible and easily identified? However, I could find not an indication that even one employee was fired because of discriminating against a black farmer. Something just doesn’t add up!
Therefore, I felt that it was necessary to spend the time and money to validate claims so those who had legitimate grievances would be paid and those who did not would not become an undue burden on the taxpayers.
December 6, 2010 | Categories: 2012 Election, Agency Regulation, America's Freedoms, Congress: Inquiries & Committees, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Corruption in Government, Deficit, Economic Security, Education, Election 2012, Elections Politics, Government, Healthcare, Learn from History, Liberals Big Spending and Taxes, Media Corruption, Most Americans Reject Socialism, National Debt, National Security, New Media News, Political Incompetence, Politics, Progressives pushing for Marxism/Socialism, Radical Liberal Progressive Left, Redistribution of Wealth, Rights of States, Smaller Government | Tags: 2008 Farm Bill, ACORN, Agriculture Department, Al Gore, Alexander Pires, Arkansas, Associated Press, Barack Obama, BFAA, Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association, Black Farmers Settlement, charles sherrod, Cynthia McKinney, Dan Glickman, Ed Shafer, Elizabeth City State University, FBI, fraud, Freedmen’s Bureau, Gary Grant, Individual Rights, Jefferson County, Jimmy Dismuke, John Stringfellow, Kathleen Nelson, Marc Kesselman, Obama, Paul Fiddick, pigford, Pigford v. Glickman, politics, Poorman Douglas, Rep. Congressman Steven King, Ridgely Muhammad, Secretary of Agriculture, Shirley Sherrod, Tom Kalil, Tom Vilsack, USDA, willie brown | Leave A Comment »