Me & Mrs. Sherrod — And The $1.25 Billion Pigford II Black Farmers’ Settlement
- Despite the firestorm, there was still an unanswered question — why on God’s green earth was Shirley Sherrod fired?
My first clue came, ironically, from the epicenter of Breitbart-hate — MSNBC. It was a week into the controversy. Nation editor Chris Hayes was filling in for Rachel Maddow and reported that I was responsible for black farmers not getting their settlement money.
“Conservative con artist, 1; black farmers, 0,” liberal Journolist Hayes said snarkily.
Black farmers? Settlement money? I had no idea what he was talking about. None.
I started to research Pigford and the more we looked into it, the more I realized that this was not a story that could be researched and told quickly. In fact, it was still unfolding. And even now, it still is.
This coming Wednesday, President Obama is slated to sign the Pigford II settlement.
But that will not be the end of the story. The American people deserve a full investigation and accounting.
Today, we’re releasing a report called “The Pigford Shakedown: How the Black Farmers’ Cause Was Hijacked by Politicians, Trial Lawyers & Community Organizers — Leaving Us With a Billion Dollar Tab.”
What have we discovered about Pigford so far?
Treasure troves of information from Lexis and Google. USDA whistleblowers. A former FBI agent who was on the verge of indictments. One of the originally discriminated-against black farmers with the goods. All these people paint a very clear picture of widespread fraud, and can testify to a complex web of bad players, including politicians, trial attorneys and community organizers.
I stumbled on the Pigford story in my defense of the Tea Party, so it’s a sweet irony that the Pigford story is exactly the kind of mess that makes the Tea Party so necessary. Politicians and trial attorneys bonded together to rip off the taxpayer, and even those farmers that were discriminated against were royally screwed.
Let me be clear, our investigation convincingly leads us to believe the USDA practiced discrimination against black farmers. Those wrongs must be rectified. But Pigford is wrought with a grotesque amount of fraud, while the truly aggrieved were mostly left high and dry.
The Pigford tale is about government run amok. It is also an indictment of the American media that is so blinded by ideology that it missed the big story yet again because taking out a political enemy was far more expedient. And furthermore it is why the American people need the Tea Party and new media as a checks and balances on corrupt politicians and their corrupt journalist counterparts.
Today will be the first of many days that BigGoverment.com will release information, testimony and documents to make the case that, at the very least, the American taxpayer (and ESPECIALLY those legitimately discriminated-against black farmers) need a full accounting of the Pigford I and II settlements.