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Friday, July 30, 2010
Shapiro Misleads About Black Farmers' Settlement

Ben Shapiro's July 29 syndicated column, published at, attacks Shirley Sherrod as a "Marxist" as well as a "racial separatist and quasi-shakedown artist." He continues:

Along with her racist husband Charles Sherrod (“We must stop the white man and his Uncle Tom from stealing our elections”), Shirley founded New Communities, Inc. in 1969 with money from the Office of Economic Opportunity. New Communities was essentially a commune-style black farm that failed to turn any sort of profit. The USDA didn’t give it further loans. So, the Sherrods sued as part of the Pigford v. Glickman class action suit, an enormous lawsuit against the USDA by black farmers. The government settled the case for billions of dollars, awarding New Communities $13 million, including $150,000 each for Charles and Shirley for “pain and suffering.” It was the single largest payout in the settlement.
Pigford itself is, at least in large part, a scam. According to Rep. Steve King, who I interviewed on my radio show, the vast majority of payouts under Pigford are fraudulent. In excess of 80,000 “black farmers” have taken advantage of the Pigford settlement, despite the fact that during the period the lawsuit covers, there were only 16,000 black farmers in the entire country.

Shapiro misleads about the number of farmers involved. The 16,000 number is the number of black farmers that received money under the original Pigford settlement -- not the number of "black farmers in the entire country." But notification and communication errorskept some farmers from being included under that settlement, so earlier this year, the Obama administration announced a $1.25 billion settlement to cover those farmers.

Approximately 80,000 farmers have applied for money under this settlement, known as Pigford II -- where Shapiro is presumably getting his latter number from -- but Congress has yet to fund the appropriation, and even the head of the National Black Farmers Association has said that only about half of that 80,000 will receive money, presumably because claims will be investigated before money is paid out.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:55 AM EDT

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