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Andrew Was Right: National Review’s Pigford Editorial

Written By : Warner Todd Huston
May 2, 2013

On April 29, one of conservatism’s leading journals, National Review, published a lead editorial on the Pigford scandal not only noting at the outset that Andrew Breitbart was right all along, but that the scandal deserves more attention nationally.

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As it wraps up, the NR piece arrives at the logical conclusion that Obama’s expansion of Pigford payouts “resembles in organization and aim a criminal conspiracy of breathtaking proportions, and one in which the federal government was first complicit and then ultimately responsible.”

Just so. But along the way, NR gives readers some delicious outrage over the monumental waste, lies, and abuse of authority that Andrew saw since day one.

NR expresses hope that in the wake of the recent New York Times examination of the criminal actions that is Pigford, maybe more eyes will be brought to the scandal and notes that the truth of Pigford is “worse than was previously thought.”

When looking at the particulars, the Pigford scandal almost seems like satire but is infuriatingly all too real. Take the “low bar” that was set to qualify to get free government cash. As NR puts it, “To establish oneself as a farmer for the purposes of Pigford, it would all but do to establish that you had once bought a seed and passed within a country mile of a USDA office. And to establish that you were discriminated against there, it would all but do to affirm on a form that you found that experience less than satisfactory–and to have your second cousin affirm that you told him as much at the time.”

NR goes on to note that the Pigford payout scheme spawned a “cottage industry” as groups sprang to life aimed at getting as many applicants as possible whether they were farmers or not. The fraud endemic in this rush to sign people up is shocking, to say the least.

“Basically, it was a rip-off of the American taxpayers,” the magazine quotes one participant as saying.

All of this started before President Obama came to office, to be sure. But did he ride in on his “transparency” horse to fix the mess? Not in the least, NR says.

But as the Times reports in great depth, instead of closing the spigot, in 2010 the Obama administration did not just acquiesce to, it spearheaded the expansion of, the Pigford con on the taxpayer’s dime, and saw to it that not just black Americans, but any woman, Hispanic, or Native American who could so much as gesture at discrimination had access to a billion-dollar pool of easy money.

Worse, NR points out that Obama expanded the payouts even over the objections of the Justice Department’s own lawyers.

National Review ends its piece calling for a Congressional investigation.

At a minimum, a congressional investigation is needed, as is congressional intervention in the continued administration of the payouts. Representative Steve King (R., Iowa) has long called for such measures, and it is time his calls are heeded. It is shame, to the tune of billions in taxpayers’ dollars, that it has taken this long for the mainstream media and its readers to catch up to the reality of Pigford. But now that they have, perhaps they can be shamed into helping put an end to it.

Representative King will likely go ahead with this investigation as more eyes are brought to this outrageous scandal and National Review has done its part by adding its voice to that call.

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