From the National Review 2-21-11 article "Pigford's Harvest":
In the early 90's Timothy Pigford drew up a lawsuit against the USDA claiming discriminatory treatment in his ability to get financing to allow him to increase the size of his operation. After much work on his part it was taken on by an attorney who managed to win a class action settlement for up to 2500 farmers, which was eventually won by plaintiff. As the Clinton Administration was anxious to grease the skids for Algore they settled & the legislation was pushed through by Newt Gingrich.
The Pigford Class - those eligible for settlement - originally was defined as:
All African American farmers who (1) farmed between 1-1-1983 & 2-1-1997 & (2) applied, during that time period, for participation in a federal farm program with USDA, & as a direct result of determination by USDA in response to said application, believed they were discrimated against on the basis of race, & filed a written discrimination complaint with USDA in that time period.
Both sides acknowledged the class size wasn't likely to exceed 2,500. With scant evidence one was allowed to collect a virtually automatic cash payment of $50,000.
But then entered the "attempted to farm" class which started pouring in & the number of claimants is at 100,000 , while a 1997 census only found 18,500 black farmers with a liberal extimate that no more than 33,000 existed in the time frame indicated.
One of the claimants along with her husband was Shirley Sherrod (that one) who along with her husband collected $13,000,000 just 3 days after her name became famous.
Somewhere along the way Andrew Breitbart became interested in the feeding frenzy. His contention is most claims were frivolous at best & fraudulent at worst. A MS couple murdered a guy they thought might testify in their fraudulent claim case & are now spending life in the Xbar hotel. The FBI figures that 1/2 the claims at the minimum are fraudulent but do not want to prosecute for fear of being tagged with the "racist" label. The USDA has turned a blind eye to the the issue. One USDA employee told Breitbart: we saw claims from affluent areas , Palm Beach & Palm Springs, one applicant claimed the Chicago office discriminated against him when they had never had a Chicago office. He called Pigford the biggest scam against the American taxpayer in the history of the US.
The enabling legislation was running out, there were a lot of claimants on the rolls so in 2007 the junior senator from IL, on his own added an amendment to a bill called the "Pigford Claims Remedy Act" which added $1.25 bill to the pot with an additional 10 years to climb on the gravy train. Last December the POTUS heralded Pigford II as the close of a long & unfortunate chapter in our history.
So progressives, what say you? It looks like you own this one bigtime .