Pigford Scandal Finally Getting The Attention It Deserves

The New York Times had an exhaustive piece late last week about the scandalous fraud in a federal program designed to right the wrong numerous African-American suffered by being denied federal farm aid. The AJC’s Jay Bookman posted this article this afternoon.

The Times investigation makes a strong case that Obama political appointees within the Agriculture Department made a political decision not to look too closely at damage applications, reasoning that saying no would cause them more grief than saying yes. And when lawyers representing Hispanic, Native American and female applicants started demanding similar treatment, even when they didn’t have similar proof of discrimination, the administration caved to those demands rather than take the public-relations risk of fighting them in court, even though the government had a strong case.

It’s not a pretty picture, and because of the role played by race in the story, it is likely to get uglier still.

Peach Pundit wrote about this scandal over two years ago and even posted a video of an African-American farmer in Georgia who told Congressman Sanford Bishop about the fraud in the program. He was warned to keep quiet because “they’ll shut this thing down” if they find out.

This is shameful and I’m glad it’s finally getting the attention it deserves.

2 comments

  1. sockpuppet says:

    The Pigford scandal has deserved attention for a very long time, dating back to when the farmers were discriminated against decades ago. So what is it about the government’s treatment of these farmers that is so newsworthy now when no one in the media or government cared back then, both when it was originally going on, the settlement finally being reached and the many long term issues with dispensing the settlement claims?

    I recall that when the original settlement on this case was reached – during the Bill Clinton administration – the National Review and other conservative outlets denounced it as a shakedown by the civil rights industry and a political payoff, claiming that the farmers never experienced any discrimination at all, or if they did it wasn’t an issue worth the government’s time and taxpayer’s money. If that was the position then, why change it now?

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