Obama’s ‘free stuff’ electoral victory in 2012 masked what is perhaps his biggest and shadiest giveaway of all; the multi-billion dollar reparations and vote-buying schemes masked as USDA “farmers’ settlements.”
Breitbart News has been fighting to expose the fraud for years, but in 2012, the Obama administration went all-in as the final touches were put on plans to give even more checks for $50,000 to people who never actually farmed but who claim that they ‘attempted to farm’ without needing a speck of verifiable proof.
It’s been a long time coming. The original famers’ settlement was created in 1999 and is known as Pigford, named for a farmer named Timothy Pigford. Pigford himself was a legitimate farmer and he and a few hundred other farmers say they were discriminated against by the USDA. While all sides including critics of Pigford agree that some farmers were discriminated against, the suit was modified by lawyers to open it to people with a much more tenuous claim that they had “attempted to farm.” The number of claimants skyrocketed, of course, as lawyers found tens of thousands of people to claim that they “attempted” since there was literally no procedure to verify the truth or falsity of any claim.
For a good look at the state of the Pigford settlement as it was being developed, watch this video from 60 Minutes in the late 1990s.
One of the attorneys featured in that video is a man named Richard “Al” Pires, a white liberal attorney who is widely acknowledged as father of the Pigford settlement as it exists today. It’s not conjecture to call Mr. Pires the mastermind behind Pigford’s “attempted to farm” standard; he discusses it openly in this article from 2000:
“I argued that such cases should be included because that’s a form of discrimination. We looked through the consent decree and concluded that these cases weren’t technically allowed. I asked the government to consider allowing these farmers to participate.
That’s when Pires came up with constructive application. This is a set of rules saying if you tried to get an application and your local office wouldn’t give you one, you can participate in the suit. But first, you have to answer four or five questions under oath.
Where did you go to get this application? The year? The county office? The person you talked to? Why did you want the loan?
“If you can’t answer those basics, then it’s more likely than not you weren’t there. If you can’t give us answers to those few questions, you’re not coming into the lawsuit,” says Pires.
The judge approved the constructive application rules. Those rules let thousands of people into the case, says Pires.
That’s because those ‘four or five questions’ weren’t hard to make up answers for, especially when you were being coached about the right way to answer them. Further, Pires had set Pigford up so that there was literally no verification of the truth of your answers. People swore under oath and the results were never checked.
After helping to create the Pigford “attempted to farm” framework, Mr. Pires was named to the “Reparations Dream Team,” as this article from 2000, “A New Dream Team Intends To Seek Reparations For Slavery,” shows:
Its membership includes Professor Charles Ogletree of Harvard Law School, Johnnie Cochran, and some of the nation’s most respected and feared class action attorneys. Some are themselves African-American; some are not. What they share is that they are all members of the exclusive “100 million dollar” club–each has participated in cases that regularly yield settlements of at least $100 million.
Richard Scruggs, a leading asbestos and tobacco attorney, is in the group. So is Willie Gary, whose $500 million fraud claim against a Canadian funeral home operator was recently recounted in The New Yorker. So is Richard Pires, who lawyered a $1 billion settlement with the U.S. Government on behalf of black farmers who were denied loans. And Dennis Sweet, who just recently wrapped up an innovative $400 million settlement in the “phen-fen” case in Philadelphia.
Reparations Dream Team member Professor Charles Ogletree is President Obama’s Law School mentor, and Barack Obama would have a significant role to play in Pigford as the decade rolled on. As a U.S. Senator, Obama was the sponsor of legislation that carried Pigford forward and helped expand it from the 600 real farmers discussed in that 60 Minutes clip to the nearly 90,000 who have now applied. Further, Senator Obama took the unusual step of writing a letter that criticized USDA employees who tried to point out the money and time that would be wasted on expanding Pigford.
The attack on USDA employees was spearheaded by John Boyd, the head of a group run out of his Virginia home called “The National Association of Black Farmers.” Boyd is another pivotal figure in the Pigford story. In 2007, while Senator Obama was running for President, Boyd discussed the importance of Pigford for Obama with The Hill:
Obama also plans to discuss his commitment to bring relief to black farmers on the campaign trail over the next few months, according to an aide on his presidential campaign.
National Black Farmers Association President John Boyd said Obama’s position as a leader on the Pigford issue could “absolutely, unequivocally” help him politically.
Now, flash forward to 2012–and President Obama has already made good on his Pigford promises. After being elected President, he not only signed the funding bill turning the Pigford II expansion into law, but also expanded it to women and Hispanic/Latino “attempted to farmers,” as well.
Pigford advocate and attorney Al Pires also had a busy year, using some of the money and notoriety to run for Senate in Delaware, a race where he was barely blip on the radar with less than 4% of the vote. In an article about the election, Pires waxes philosophically about Pigford:
…the Pigford case has been a boon and a bane for Pires, who earned a name for himself as a successful lawyer by securing the large settlement, but also became the target of widespread criticism. Paul L. Friedman, the federal district court judge in Washington who presided over the case, once accused Pires’ team of lawyers of conduct bordering on “legal malpractice” and called his performance on the case “dismal” after Pires repeatedly missed deadlines to submit farmers’ claims for review.
Several of Pires’ own clients later attempted to throw out the settlement and have Pires tossed off the case. He and fellow lawyers were later fined $308,000 by the court, but remained on the case.
During a recent interview, Pires called his time leading the Pigford lawsuit, and a later class action case brought by farmers against the major tobacco companies, the most “interesting” and “intellectually challenging” projects of his career. He dismisses criticisms as an unavoidable professional hazard.
Pires does get a positive mention in the article, however, and it comes from none other than “Dr.” John Boyd:
John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association , said Pires deserves a wealth of credit, particularly for his work on behalf of black farmers. Boyd and others were nearly broke when they found Fraas and Pires. phone
“The situation with the black farmers has never been a pretty picture,” said Boyd.
“One thing I can say about Al Pires is that he did take a chance on these cases when very few others would really take a chance on these cases. I think you have to give him some credit.”
Is it surprise that Boyd give Al Pires credit? The article doesn’t mention that Boyd and Pires have a working relationship today–since they have worked together “helping” woman famers collect under the Obama administration’s latest ploy.