John Stossel to Al Pires, lead attorney in the Pigford settlement: “How do you know they’re farmers?”
Answer: [long pause] “They fill out the forms… We HOPE they tell the truth.”
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More at Stossel’s blog:
Want to get a check from the government for $50,000? If you’re black and willing to say you once “attempted to farm,” the money could be yours.
Why? In the 80’s and 90’s, some Black farmers were allegedly discriminated against by the Agriculture Department. Department loan officers supposedly did the opposite of what Shirley Sherrod was accused of: they granted government-subsidized farm loans to whites but not to blacks.
Government shouldn’t be giving out government subsidized loans to anyone. But that’s another story for another time.
When some black farmers sued, claiming discrimination, the USDA agreed to pay $50,000 to every black person who was discriminated against.
According to the census, there were 18,000 black farmers in the country when the lawsuit was filed. But 97,000 black “farmers” have applied for the money.
Black farmer Jimmy Dismuke says it’s fraud. He said lawyers went to black churches and told people who had never farmed to file for the money.
“People say well, how do I qualify?” Dismuke told us. “And then [the lawyers] started talking about potted plants. They said if you had a potted plant, you can be a farmer. And if you have a yard and you fertilize it, you’re a farmer.”
Full post here.