Eric Holder Needs to Account for His Role in Farm Settlement Fraud
With Romney and Ryan both calling on Obama Attorney General Eric Holder to resign amid new revelations about operation Fast & Furious, it’s important to also keep in mind Eric Holder’s key role in a multi-billion dollar fraud scheme that he has called "a top priority": the bogus farmer settlements announced one week ago that are poised to give billions to people who claim that they "attempted to farm."
Eric Holder’s Justice Department has been central to pushing a “farmer settlement” agenda that few Americans are aware of. The mainstream media has ignored stories about the Pigford settlement for years, despite the fact that there are farmers, lawyers, and even ex-USDA employees who have gone on the record to say that the black farmers' settlement was rife with fraud because it was so easy to collect a $50,000 check by stating that you had "attempted to farm."
While most Americans are not aware of the Pigford fraud, the Obama administration has made it a prime concern. Not only was then-Senator Obama the sole Senate sponsor for a bill that extended the Pigford fraud to 70,000 additional claimants, but when Obama took office, it became a focus for Tom Vilsack’s USDA and Holder’s DOJ. In an official press release in 2011, Eric Holder said,
"Accomplishing this settlement has been a top priority of this Administration and I am pleased that the court has approved it."
Holder and Vilsack were able to push this idea without a court mandate, either. As Steve King said in an address on the House Floor on November 10, 2010:
There was no congressional directive that sent Eric Holder and Tom Vilsack to sit down with John Boyd of the (National Black Farmers Association) and make a new deal and come to this congress and say “Appropriate $1.15 Billion additional dollars to fund Pigford II.”
Holder’s promotion of farm settlement fraud didn’t end at Pigford, however. The DOJ went on to work with the USDA to create two more settlements for women and Hispanic farmers using the same faulty framework as Pigford. As legal blog Main Justice pointed out in 2010, the idea of the deal worked on by the DOJ and USDA involved giving $50,000 settlement checks “without having the government question the evidence they offer.”
This new, multi-billion dollar settlement was announced just last week. This is not old news or water under the bridge; it’s an active government program that is about to fleece taxpayers for billions of dollars, and it was built by Obama, Vilsack, and Holder.