Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." - Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

Monday, March 10, 2014

Fraud and Abuse of Federal Farm Subsidies 2014

Dear Readers,

A report just out shows that millions of dollars in Federal Farm Subsidies are flowing into major American urban areas - where there are no farms!

To illustrate the point, the map of Chicago depicts just how many people and groups there are just within the big City of Chicago who are collecting "Farm" subsidies when there are no farms.

Yes, the federal government is a vast money machine.

All in all, there are more than 1,800 federal subsidy programs.


And yes, because all of these federal subsidy programs exist, the federal budget has become victim to large-scale fraud and abuse.

Just about every subsidy program suffers from fraud and abuse, and Farm Subsidies are not exempt from those who are scamming the system.

And frankly, while I can understand how there can be a great deal of fraud and abuse of Federal Student-Aid Programs over the many years in big cities, I am amazed by how much Farm Subsidy fraud and abuse there is coming from urban areas.

According to a CATO Institute 2009 report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture distributes between $10 billion and $30 billion in cash subsidies to farmers and owners of farmland each year.
The particular amount depends on market prices for crops, the level of disaster payments, and other factors. More than 90% of Agriculture Subsidies go to farmers of five crops—wheat, corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton.

More than 800,000 farmers and landowners receive subsidies, but the payments are heavily tilted toward the largest producers.

In addition to routine cash subsidies, the USDA provides subsidized crop insurance, marketing support, and other services to farm businesses.

The USDA also performs extensive agricultural research and collects statistical data for the industry.

These indirect subsidies and services cost taxpayers about $5 billion each year, putting total farm support at between $15 billion and $35 billion annually.

According to a report released by government watchdog group OpentheBooks.com, titled "Farm Subsidies and the Big Dogs," we are being ripped off!

Based on data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, OpenTheBooks.com examined total farm subsidies that have been paid into selected cities and urban areas.

The result is that Billions in U.S. Farm Subsidies have made its way to 10,806 recipients in urban areas with each receiving at least $250,000 between 2008 and 2011. The report notes that each received an average of $417,316.

Folks, there are over 313,000,000 people living in the United States. Of that population, less than 1% claim farming as an occupation - and about 2% actually live on farms.

In 2007, only 45% of farmers claimed farming as their principal occupation and a similar number of farmers claiming some other principal occupation.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of farms in the U.S. stands at about 2.2 million.

So why has there been only 10,806 recipients of Farm Subsidies in a nation where Farming is in a steep decline?

That is one huge question that I'd like answered, but there is another question just as important.

Why is it that the United States Government cannot control fraud when it comes to watching where Taxpayer money goes?

Last February 2nd, of this year, I reported on the fact that Muslim groups with links to groups affiliated with terrorist were getting millions in Farm subsidies.

I reported that these groups who were affiliated with terrorists were themselves terrorist groups.

And just as a point of interest, someone wrote telling that my stance on Muslims is one of the reasons "liberal" organizations don't want to advertise on my blog.

I wrote him back and informed him that liberal groups want to advertise, but while I'd love to have more advertisers -- I don't care to advertise for groups who want to tell me what to write on my blog.

And by the way, I do not see any difference between Muslim terrorist groups and Muslim groups who are affiliated with or support those terrorist groups. It's called an affiliation!

Friends, to me, that same sort of twisted logic is just like when someone says only Obama is responsible for the Socialist program we know as ObamaCare.

Whether they like it or not, Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and other liberals, who passed it into law without reading what was in it first are directly responsible for ObamaCare. There is an affiliation.
On February 01, 2014, I wrote that those Muslim groups that are affiliated with terrorist are collecting Farm Subsidies from the United States government.

It's true! It was reported that a Muslim group called The North American Islamic Trust has received U.S. Farm Subsidies -- even though they did not harvest a single crop.

The report stated that Taxpayer Farm Subsidies went to the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) and are only part of the fraud that is benefiting millionaires, non-farmers, and non-profits every year.

Well, on March 09th, 2014, it was being reported that several non-profit groups that have little to nothing to do with farming -- or are in poor standing with their local governments -- have been receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly millions, in farm subsidies over the past decade.

This is according to what federal records show.

The report includes a Muslim charity tied to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a Midwestern group devoted to waterfowl habitat, and a major conservation group with few farms to its name.

The group tied to Black-supremacist leader Louis Farrakhan, called the Three Year Economic Saving Program, has received nearly $160,000 in farm subsidies since 2002.

The program was incorporated on Sept. 12, 2001, yes the day after the Muslim Attack on 9/11.

Now, it is listed as “Not in Good Standing” by Illinois’s secretary of state.

Though the Muslim program has no record of ever being a charity with the Illinois Attorney General Office, which oversees the state’s 501(c)(3) nonprofits, the Farrakhan program nevertheless funded an operation called "Muhammad Farms" which was purchased by Farrakhan in 1995.

And understand what has been going one here, while "Muhammad Farms" consists of about 1,500 acres in Georgia -- its Taxpayer paid Farm Subsidies are paid to Louis Farrakhan’s Chicago home.

Imagine that! Louis Farrakhan's group is crooking the government and having the stolen money sent directly to his home!  

But then again, he's black and has a lot of clout with the Muslim community. Because of that, in my opinion, President Obama and Eric Holder simply give him a pass.

On the other hand, if he were white, it would be a different story and Eric Holder's Department of Justice would do what needs to be done and investigate this.
The color blind society that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr fought for is no where to be found. Fact is, I believe that America is more conscience of color than ever before -- and if not everyday Americans, certainly our government when it comes to enforcing the law.

Blacks who break the law are getting a pass, while Americans with European, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American ancestry are being held to account for their actions in today's America - that's just how I see it.

Adam Andrzejewski, founder of OpenTheBooks.com and former Republican candidate for governor of Illinois, questioned the Farm subsidies going to Louis Farrakhan.

“’Not in good standing’ doesn’t seem to trouble the Cincinnati office of the IRS,” he said.

“Why is Farrakhan’s charity allowed to receive federal money? This is no longer about farm policy, it’s merely a transfer mechanism from one set of Americans who pay taxes to another set who know how to game the system.”

OpenTheBooks.com displays taxpayer dollars given to the charity since 2008, and Fox News who made the report on this situation reviewed raw data since 1995 in the database run by Andrzejewski’s group.

Farrakhan's program has been listed as “Not in Good Standing” since September of last year.

In fact, according to the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, Farrakhan's non-profit was “involuntarily" dissolved by the State of Illinois on February 1st, 2014, following its failure to file an annual report within six months of its due date.

“Sooner or later, the [Illinois] Department of Revenue will catch up with them during tax time,” said an employee of the Illinois Secretary of State’s Business Services office, who commented on the condition of anonymity.

The employee could not comment on the legality of the program’s continued acceptance of donations under the auspices of being a 501(c)(3).

As with other non-profits which accept subsidies, the Muslim group benefits from their government status in two ways: by receiving subsidies and by enjoying tax-exempt status.

Yes, Farrakhan's groups are getting Farm Subsidies without growing crops -- and don't pay state or federal taxes!

The Muhammad Farms website says supporters can donate “tax deductible contributions” to the Three Year Economic Saving Program. By the way, that's fraud!

And yes, the IRS’s public database of 990 forms -- which can prove a non-profit’s tax-exempt status -- shows no such listing for Louis Farrakhan's Muhammad Farms, the Nation of Islam, or the Three Year Economic Saving Program.

Some religious organizations are exempt from filing 990 forms, which may allow the Three Year Economic Program to evade disclosing its assets - and yes, their attorneys know the loopholes.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, non-profits are required to provide the past three years’ 990 forms on request. But no, the Nation of Islam has not returned Fox News' calls requesting the forms or comment.

The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the Nation of Islam a “black separatist group” and Farrakhan’s rhetoric “deeply racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay,” stating that the Nation of Islam’s theology includes “innate black superiority over whites.”

But then again, the Farrakhan groups are not the only ones breaking the law.

The report states that $3.4 million or more in Taxpayer funds have gone to foundations based in Chicago that seek to conserve waterfowl at the Putnam County, Ill., Dixon Waterfowl Refuge.

Since 2001, seven waterfowl habitat foundations have received roughly $50,000 per year each.

Each foundation is an arm of the Wetlands Initiative, a program that, according to its website, is “dedicated to restoring the wetland resources of the Midwest.”

Each of the seven separate foundations is run out of the same downtown Chicago high-rise office, has the same agent, shares the same IRS 990 filer and receives subsidies from the same USDA county office.

Subsidies flow from the Putnam County Illinois USDA office because the money goes to a waterfowl refuge overseen by the Wetlands Initiative in the same county.

Why USDA money for wild ducks? Are they endangered?

Well, all seven foundations state that they are each dedicated in name to the Pintail, Ringbill, Blue-Wing Teal, Green-Wing Teal, Wood, Mallard and Gadwall ducks -- no, none of them are endangered in any way.

Each one of these types of ducks is labeled "of the least concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Only two of these ducks are in the Midwest year-round; the other five migrate briefly through the Midwest or are there for one season annually at most.

According to the finance manager of the Wetlands Initiative, the seven foundations are named for ducks seen at Hennepin’s Dixon Waterfowl Reservation, which is owned nearly entirely by the seven foundations, and their subsidies are set to expire in October 2015.

The Ringbill Habitat Foundation, according to the manager, has the most assets as it owns the most land. The finance manager did not respond to questions regarding why there are seven foundations, and not one.

Tired of Muslims and Ducks, how about the National Audubon Society scamming the system?

The National Audubon Society, a conservation-focused non-profit headquartered in downtown Manhattan, has pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years in federal payments.

The Audubon Society is the largest recipient of Farm Subsidies in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, having collected roughly $763,000 over the last decade.

Farming in New York City? Well, the group’s payment recipients span eight states.

Since 1995, about 90 percent of the foundation’s $932,801 in Farm Subsidy payments have gone to conservation, while about $114,000 was dedicated to crop and livestock payments.

The National Audubon Society’s benefits include crop payments for corn, barley, oats, sorghum, soybeans, cotton, wheat, oilseed, barley and sunflowers.

The foundation received a $30 lamb meat slaughter subsidy in 2003 and has received $576 for tobacco loss assistance since 1995.

The tobacco loss assistance program was introduced to help farmers regain money lost due to slashed U.S. tobacco quotas and acreage.

In the eight states the payments flow to, just one farm affiliated with the society could be found during a review by FoxNews.com.

Yes, out of the 8 states that get Farm Subsidies, it was only Aullwood Farm in Dayton, Ohio, who has received no more than $3,224 of the $114,000 in payments since 1995.

The farm does raise lamb, which could explain the lamb slaughter subsidy. The farm also raises grass crops, which could cover some, but not all, of the payments the National Audubon Society has received.

The Minnesota chapter of the Society has received over $6,000 in various payments over the last decade, but the National Audubon site does not list any centers or sanctuaries in the state.

According to its 990 form, the foundation’s 26 “key employees” are collectively compensated with more than $8 million each year.

In fact, if you donate to the National Audubon Society, you should know that besides it getting un-needed Farm Subsidies, the Audubon Society’s president earns a salary of over $460,000 a year.

The bottom line, according to the OpenTheBooks.com report:

Because of fraud and abuse of Federal Farm Subsidies, huge taxpayer dollars are pouring into several non-profits and non-farming metropolitan areas, including New York City and Chicago, which should not be.

An example of how much money? Well, between 2008 and 2011, the U.S. Government awarded roughly $6.12 million in federal farm subsidies to several groups in the Chicago area alone.

Friends, as the OpenTheBooks.com report says, "Farm subsidies today have nothing to do with 'preserving the family farm.'  Small family farms between 2008 and 2011 received only a small fraction of federal subsidies."

What groups like Farrakhan's and others are doing has everything to do with criminal behavior, which is taking place because, as the report puts it, "wealthy investors have piggy-backed on a growing government program and made the largess of farm subsidies part of their investment portfolio.
"Many of these wealthy investors don’t live in ‘rural areas,’ but instead utilize ‘farm managers’ and taxpayer dollars to maximize return on their ‘farm’ investments."
Since only a few recipients take the lion’s share of the billions paid out each year by Uncle Sam to the extent that it is believed that only around 10% of the total recipients account for almost 75% of the money doled out each year - why can't their be more oversight to fraud?

Well, I'm sure executives at U.S. Department of Agriculture and lobbyists in Washington, D.C., the very people who create and manage subsidy fund transfers participate in the subsidies themselves don't want more oversight.

The goes for elected U.S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives who also receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in farms subsidies.

So yes, I'm sure they are not going to want more oversight of what they themselves might be doing - and really,  who knows if what they are doing is legit and what isn't without being looked at?

Since reports say that only about 10% of the recipients get the lion's share of the federal farm subsidy taxpayer money, maybe it's time to investigate who this 10% is?

Maybe it's time to find out where the taxpayer money is going -- especially before we gut military benefits for our troops, cut Medicare assistance for programs like Senior Advantage, or close Veterans Hospitals as the Obama administration wants to do?

Frankly, this should make all Americans very angry.

That's just how I see it.

Tom Correa

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