Three seperate reports by the Governmnet Accountability Office (GAO) indicate that between the years 1999 to 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) misappropriated over a BILLION
of our U.S. taxpayers Dollars.
A July 9, 2007 report and a July 24, 2007 report state that not only were millions given away to farming entities that exceeded income limits established by the legislature or to entities that had little to do with farming, but also that 1.1 BILLION in farm payments made from 1999 to 2005 were given to 170,000 DECEASED individuals!
Links to the 2007 GOA Reports; July 9, 2007 Report;
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d07818.pdfJuly 24, 2007 Report;
More recently, a 2008 GOA report
indicated that 49M was simularly misappropriated to 2,500 farmers above the income means or to entities having little to do with farming and/or agriculture;
Here is a link to the 2008 GAO Report
The GAO, ignoring the "lost money" issue, said from now on, USDA
should review tax returns prior to the granting of farm subsidies, noting that about 1.8 million farmers receive over 20 BILLION dollars annually
in farm subsidies .
Much like putting the cart before the horse, or closing the barn door after
the horses have all run off,.......to insure that such
misappropriations do not happen in the future,......
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced March 19, 2009, that beginning with the 2009 crop year, all farm program participants will be required to sign a separate form
granting the IRS the authority to provide income information to USDA to verify that their incomes do not exceed limits established in the 2008 farm bill.
Concerned about claims of "invasion of privacy rights," Vilsack said that the USDA Farm Service Agency will not receive producers actual tax data and that the agency will adhere to all disclosure and Privacy Act rules.
The 2008 farm bill makes farmers ineligible for the direct payments program if their adjusted gross income from farming for the past three years averaged more than $750,000 or their nonfarm income exceeded $500,000. Landowners also are ineligible for conservation payments if their nonfarm average gross income exceeded $1 million for the last
three years unless two-thirds of it came from farming.
Vilsack said, one of the goals of this administration is to make certain
that USDA payments are not issued to individuals and entities that
exceed income eligibility limits established by law. Once this verification system is fully operational, high-income individuals and entities will be identified by USDA before farm program payments are actually disbursed to them.
Geithner added, This cooperation between the Treasury Department
and USDA will implement reforms from the 2008 farm bill to ensure payments go only to those who need them and are supposed to receive them. The goal is to limit excessive payments while providing for fairness to family farmers.
Taxpayers, ask for a RETURN the misappropriated monies, particularly the most recent $49,000. 000 million that was misappropriated in 2008 to 2,500 wealthy public and private land farmers that were ineligible to receive said payments or to entities that had little to do with farming or agriculture. If
you agree the funds should be returned (its never too late to right a wrong) please contact the USDA Secretary Tom Vilsak and the U.S. Secretry of the Treasury Tim Geithner to let
them know how you feel. The links to their websites are below and
you can contact them through there; USDA Contact
http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?navtype=MA&navid=CONTACT_USU.S. Department of the Treasury;
contact the Governmet Accountability Office
(GAO) to let them know you would like to see some, if not all, the misappropriated monies returned; Governmet Accountability Office
contact your U.S. Representatives & Senators
to let them know also how you feel. If you are not sure of who your reps or senators are, you can find out in the links below; U.S.House of Representatives;
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfmOF PARTICULAR IMPORTANCE
is to let the Senate Finance Committe
know you want a return of the misappropriated monies. It is important to contact all 23 committee-members and you contact them all directly from the link below; U.S. Senate Finance Committee;
also call the Committee Office at (202) 224 - 4515
Be sure to see the Washington Posts Year-Long Investigation into the USDAs misapproporiation of farm subsidies by clicking the link below; http://madcowhorses.blogspot.com/2009/04/usda-harvesting-cash-from-your-pockets.html
UPDATE: May 11, 2009;USDA to Give Billions in "Emergency" Bail-Out to Farmers & Ranchers
" not a Natural, but Manmade Disaster.
What are your thoughts?
Taxpayers, its YOUR
money. YES we can Get it back
Here is one case where the USDA is suing to get (a small portion) of the misappropriated monies returned;
The Huber Case - Mikkel Pates,Agweek
Published: 05/18/2009 FARGO, N.D. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has denied another appeal by Duane Huber, his family and two others in which the Farm Service Agency says should pay back farm program payments they received fraudulently from 1995 through 2000.
This appeal involves refunds of farm program payments involving what the government called sham farms, led by Huber of Wimbledon, N.D. These penalties go beyond a 2002 criminal conviction, in which Huber served 60 months in federal prison in Duluth, Minn., and forfeited $3.9 million.
Hubers' was the largest case of its kind in North Dakota history, and was one of the largest nationwide.
Since the criminal case, USDAs Farm Service Agency since 2007 has been pursuing the Hubers and two others for refunds of the farm programs. This has since gone through various levels, including mediation, and now to a USDA National Appeals Division hearing officer.
Doug Johnson, a son-in-law of Duane Huber, who has helped him with the legal issues, says the family hasn't decided whether to ask for a review of the latest NAD decision, or whether there may be further legal avenues.
Ronald Stubblefield, an NAD hearing officer, in a May 8 determination, upheld FSA's earlier adverse decision against Huber on Dec. 17, 2007. His report recently was posted on a NAD website. Many names in the case were replaced with XXX, but the report clearly is about the Huber appeal because of references to the state as well as other details.
Stubblefield says he agrees with the FSA that Huber and had engaged with other parties to circumvent individual payment limitations for FSA programs involving farms.
He disagrees with Hubers various contentions that the earlier jury decision not to seek restitution should prevent further penalties, that the FSA decisions should be barred by a statute of limitations, or that the appellants could have legitimately accomplished the same results if they had merely formed other business entities.
What appellants might have done does not excuse what they actually did, Stubblefield says.
The officer says Huber argued there is no measurable standard for what constitutes actively engaged in farming and active personal management and that the issue might be Cunconstitutionally vague. While the officer says the constitutionality is beyond his purview, he says, do not find this vagueness argument persuasive.
The FSA determined that the various parties contributions to the various farming operations were not commensurate with the interests shown on Farm Operating Plans filed with the agency. The agency concluded the parties were therefore ineligible for farm program benefits
There was no scheme.
Huber claimed there was no scheme and that the third parties were separate and distinct producers providing equipment, labor and management in appropriate shares.
Stubblefield says none of the third parties participated in the latest appeal. A face-to-face hearing was originally scheduled for Feb. 3, but, at Hubers request, was changed to a record review. Filings and responses were closed on April 24.
CI conclude FSA did not err in finding appellants and third parties ineligible for program payments for specific years, based on the conclusion that they engaged in a scheme to avoid program payment limitations, Stubblefield says.
One of the appellants in the case is Hubers son, Steven Huber, filed one of FOP reports in July 1996, saying he was farming 844.1 acres and providing 100 percent of the capital and 100 percent of the active personal management. Subsequent forms were filed in 1997, 1998 and 1999, and Steven Huber received program payments for each of those years, according to the NAD report. Other third parties had similar situations.
Stubblefield says the clear weight of evidence show that Huber had organized a scheme, involving himself and the others. He had enlisted
the others to falsely list themselves as farm operators with FSA, to circumvent USDA payment limitations, and hired his own operator for the various farms. The party who signed the FOP received all farm income, program payments and crop insurance proceeds, putting those monies into a farm account. Then, the party paid all proceeds to appellant 2 by checks with various notations indicating they were payments for services or goods provided.
In return, each party received a fixed yearly payment from appellant 2, between $3,000 and $9,000, and was repaid any increase in the amount of income taxes, Stubblefield says.
In some cases, a third party couldnt write a check without Hubers permission.
Stubblefield says while Steve Huber was dismissed from the criminal case, which requires a standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the administrative case requires only a preponderance of evidence. http://www.agweek.com/articles/?id=4040&article_id=14268&property_id=41
Read more about "Welfare Farming & Ranching" by going to the link below;http://www.publiclandsranching.org/book.htm
And talk about it more in this group, if you care;