Yesterday Breitbart.com posted an article about the Pigford Settlement. I have written about the Pigford Settlement before, you can use the search engine on this site to find the history of the program. Briefly, the Pigford Settlement was a $4.55 billion program signed into law in 2010 that provided $3.4 billion to American Indian tribes for past royalties from oil, gas, and timber extraction from their lands and $1.15 billion for African–American farmers who said they have been unfairly denied federal loans and other assistance.
On December 7, 2012, the United States Government Accountability Office released report number GAO-13-69R, also known as “Civil Rights: Additional Actions in Pigford II Claims Process Could Reduce Risk of Improper Determinations.”
In English that means that a lot of people receiving money in the Pigford Settlement may not actually be legally entitled to it.
The GAO report states:
For example, by the terms of the settlement agreement, most claims must be evaluated based solely on the information submitted by the claimants and, as a result, the adjudicator of these claims has no way of independently verifying that information.
The article concludes:
Let’s go slowly through that paragraph. There are three main points it makes:
- “By terms of the settlement agreement” shows the fraud is baked right in. This is a feature, not a bug.
- “most claims must be evaluated based solely on the information submitted by the claimants” means that a majority of claims are judged based only on statements by the person who stands to collect a $50,000 check.
- “adjudicator of these claims has no way of independently verifying that information” means that there’s no way for the person judging the claim to check for fraud.
In other words, the lawyers and politicians who designed Pigford gave people judging a claim’s validity no objective way to determine whether it is actually fraudulent or not; they have to accept the claimant’s statement as truth. In a government payout program whose architects anticipated some level of fraudulent or duplicate claims, no one included oversight against such a contingency.
These are American taxpayer dollars that are being spent. I don’t want to see anyone’s taxes raised until the government is held accountable for the money it is already spending. I suspect we could come very close to balancing the budget just by taking out the waste and fraud. Let’s do that before we take more money away from the people who actually legally earned it.