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April 26th, 2013 2:27 pm
NYT Confirms Pigford Fraud

Remember the multi-layered Pigford scandal?

After years of criticisms by conservatives that the controversial lawsuit settlements were politically-engineered windfalls paid at taxpayers’ expense, The New York Times, flagship publication of the mainstream media, confirms every word:

But a succession of courts — and finally the Supreme Court — had rebuffed their pleas. Instead of an army of potential claimants, the government faced just 91 plaintiffs. Those cases, the government lawyers figured, could be dispatched at limited cost.

They were wrong.

On the heels of the Supreme Court’s ruling, interviews and records show, the Obama administration’s political appointees at the Justice and Agriculture Departments engineered a stunning turnabout: they committed $1.33 billion to compensate not just the 91 plaintiffs but thousands of Hispanic and female farmers who had never claimed bias in court.
The deal, several current and former government officials said, was fashioned in White House meetings despite the vehement objections — until now undisclosed — of career lawyers and agency officials who had argued that there was no credible evidence of widespread discrimination. What is more, some protested, the template for the deal — the $50,000 payouts to black farmers — had proved a magnet for fraud.

The total cost of the Pigford-related settlements could exceed $4.4 billion.

With the facts undisputed, it’s time to get answers and, perhaps, resignations.

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