Rep. Steve King (R-IA) took a stand this week against a $4.55 billion vote to settle discrimination claims against the government -- a vote he says will cost taxpayers $1.15 billion and amounts to "slavery reparations."
The money, referred widely to as the Pigford settlement, settles longstanding class action lawsuits against the U.S. Department Agriculture and Department of the Interior. In those suits, black and American Indian farmers claim they were discriminated against when they were denied loans.
But Kings isn't convinced. According to him, the claims process is riddled with fraud, and the settlement is a costly way of instituting "slavery reparations":
“The unaccountable lame duck Congress has irresponsibly voted to spend $1.15 billion on a Pigford settlement program that is severely compromised by fraud,” King said in a statement. “This means that people who have never farmed and people who have never been discriminated against by the USDA will be receiving tends of thousands of dollars in cash and debt relief simply for having filed a false claim."
He continued: “By ignoring Pigford fraud, Congress has allowed the program to change from one designated to address black farmers’ discrimination claims to one that now serves as a modern day slavery reparations program. The American people should be outraged by this vote and the new Congress should make an investigation of Pigford fraud a top priority.”
According to Trevor Loudon over at NZ Patriot, that so much money is being sent to “farmers” is questionable. "'Farmers' is in quotation marks because, in one lawsuit alone," he writes, "five times as many people filed for refunds than ever owned or operated a farm in any way."
That instance is downplayed by the King's local paper, which says "a USDA spokesperson responded to King’s claims by point out that out of the 15,000 claims processed under Pigford I, the FBI determined that only three claims were fraudulent."
Still, King appeared on Anderson Cooper's show last night to defend his claim, and as to defend himself from charges of racism after calling Barack Obama "very, very urban":
King referred to Obama as urban on the House floor on Monday, and also grabbed headlines recently when he said the Wikileaks group should be dubbed a "foreign terrorist organization."