Michele Bachmann is no stranger to pushing conspiracy theories: treasonous members of Congress, death panels in Health Care Reform, the looming elimination of the US Dollar, the establishment of re-education camps through AmeriCorps, and the nefarious use of Census information. Now, Andy Bikney of the Minnesota Independent reports that the Minnesota congresswoman is pushing the claim that the well-documented discrimination of minority farmers is actually an Obama vote-buying scheme:
There’s calls to give out more, quote, discrimination money to Native Americans who claim they were discriminated against by the USDA, but it doesn’t end there. They want to also have a class of, quote, women farmers who were discriminated against and another class of, quote, Hispanic farmers who were discriminated against.
There a real question, a sincere question that: Was this really about vote buying? Because before election cycles, that’s when the demand comes to pay out these claims in order to get support.
I would really like the President to explain what he said on September 10 at his White House Press Conference that Pigford is “a fair and just settlement.” How? No way?
She also claimed that Obama’s push to fund the Pigford settlement to compensate the victims of discrimination by the US Department of Agriculture, which was approved in 1999, was responsible for the movement of Black voters to Obama’s column in the 2008 primary campaign. She alleged that since the number of claimants surpassed the number of Black farmers, the Pigford settlement represents “massive fraud.” However, claimants all must be verified by the court and can include people who unsuccessfully tried to become farmers. Bachmann also dismissed the claims of Native Americans who are attempting to win Senate approval to settle the Cobell case which “accuses the federal government of mismanaging billions of dollars held in trust for Indian landowners.”
Bachmann was speaking to notorious right-wing activist Andrew Breitbart, who accused lawyers of “fish[ing] for claimants” to get “a $50,000 check” from the government. Breitbart was last seen deceptively editing the Shirley Sherrod video. Sherrod and her husband were unrightfully refused loans from the USDA because they were black, and later as an employee of the USDA she was tackled cases where the USDA discriminated against minority farmers:
There have been problems with discrimination at the department for decades. In 1965, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights found civil rights abuses in how farmers and employees were treated. Reports in the 1980s and ’90s found that such abuses were forcing minority farmers out of business.
In 1999, the department agreed to pay black farmers for past discrimination. The suit was led by the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and settled for more than $1 billion. Sherrod and her husband, who ran a 6,000-acre farming cooperative called New Communities in the 1970s, were awarded $13 million to be shared among their cooperative in a settlement with the USDA last year, including $330,000 for their pain and suffering, according to Sherrod’s lawyer Rose Sanders
The case was later reopened to allow additional black farmers to apply for compensation, and Vilsack announced in February that the USDA had settled with them for $1.25 billion — which must be appropriated by Congress. The USDA and the Department of Justice are also working with Hispanic and women farmers to close their case for $1.33 billion, a USDA official said.
Despite all of the facts surrounding the Pigford and Cobell cases, Bachmann and Breitbart use justice for Black and Native American farmers as fodder for their illusory attacks against the Obama Administration, claiming that Pigford is simply a scheme to expand government, show bias towards people of color, and buy minority votes.