I had barely put on my CPAC press credential when I was nearly knocked down by a media scrum encircling Rep. Michele Bachmann. I was on my way to the Pigford press conference at which Bachmann gave opening remarks.
Andrew Breitbart called the presser to release audio evidence of alleged “massive fraud” in the Pigford II settlement. The two-hour audio clip is unedited interviews that filmmaker Len Strahanan conducted for a documentary on Pigford that he is producing. The unedited audio will be posted to BigGovernment.com so that “you can make up your own mind.”
Breitbart's mind is already made up. He said the 91,000 Pigford claimants are four and one half times the number of black farmers:
This thing was scammed to benefit the class action lawyers...I will not stop until the black farmers get their justice. They've lost their land...The black farmers are like the needle in the haystack while the non-farmers got paid.
Black farmers were the only ones who were not compensated, didn't get their money and land back...Pigford was crafted to help people who never farmed. Ninety-two percent of those who filed never farmed before...What the USDA did was more than discrimination. They were tortured off their land. Black farmers were at the head of the line to be taken advantage of.
Rep. Steve King, a member of House Agriculture Committee, noted that Breitbart “has been at the forefront.”
Without Andrew Breitbart this would not have been raised to the level it has...I believe there were people who were discriminated against on the basis of race and we should make them whole. But we should not provide an open checkbook for people who have never farmed and could not find the USDA.
King said it will take a congressional investigation to “show what's going on in the South to perpetrate fraud against the American taxpayer.” Given the racial sensitivities and political implications, the chairmen of the House Judiciary and Agriculture committees are not likely to hold hearings in the absence of “a public outcry.”
Eddie Slaughter, a black farmer from Georgia, echoed King's call for a congressional investigation:
I got $50,000 and then my own persecution got started...The people who discriminated against black farmers are still there. This lawsuit has not settled anything.
The racism and discrimination continues to this very moment. The lawsuit didn't end discrimination. It increased it. They're now being persecuted. These 80-, 90-year-old men should be in the golden years of their lives.
I've been obsessed with this story for the last seven months. It's a big story...They're claiming that black farmers are getting used but they're not getting justice.
He plans to take their story to the media and Congress.
Meanwhile, Dr. John W. Boyd, president and founder of the National Black Farmers Association, will hold his own presser next week to take his story of “Justice in Jeopardy” to the media. In a statement, Boyd said “a rapidly developing crisis threatens to sabotage black farmers’ last best hope.”
No justice, no peace.