Rush Limbaugh attacked a federal discrimination settlement with women and Hispanic farmers as “reparations” and suggested that all one has to do to collect money is “think they were discriminated against.” In fact, the process required to claim settlement money requires substantive documentation submitted under the penalty of perjury.
On his radio show, Limbaugh noted that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is airing radio ads asking women and Hispanic farmers and ranchers who may have been discriminated against to apply for a share of $1.3 billion, plus an additional $160 million for debt relief, set aside by the federal government as a settlement. Limbaugh said that we should “just be honest” and call this “reparations,” adding that “All they have to do is think they were discriminated against, and they can apply for their share of $1.3 billion in reparations”:
LIMBAUGH: So somewhere it's been determined that the Agriculture Department discriminated against Hispanic and women farmers and Hispanic and women ranchers. All they have to do is think they were discriminated against, and they can apply for their share of $1.3 billion in reparations. Can we just be honest about what this is? One-point-three-billion-dollar pool of money that these people are going to make claims on, and then another $160 million in farm debt relief that Obama set aside from his stash as part of a new era of civil rights. So wait, here you have these cruise ship passengers getting $500, and these discriminated-against Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers get to divvy up $1.3 billion. What are they going to think is the place to go for prosperity?
The USDA settlement was first proposed in 2011 as a settlement to cases filed by women farmers (Love v. Vilsack) and Hispanic farmers (Garcia v. Vilsack) that alleged discrimination in federal loans and other assistance, and it was finalized last year. The filing deadline to seek a settlement is March 25.
Contrary to Limbaugh's suggestion that all one must do to collect is “think they were discriminated against,” a detailed form must be filled out and supporting documentation must be included, such as:
- A sworn, verified, or notarized written witness statement from someone who witnessed USDA's discrimination against you.
- A written complaint of discrimination that you or your representative filed with the USDA within one year of when you tried to apply.
- A letter or other document from a non-family member to you, or from you to a non-family member, that was written and dated within one year of when you tried to apply for a loan and that shows that you tried to apply for a farm loan or loan servicing; that you had a farm business plan which included specific crops, equipment, and the general location of the acreage; and that a USDA official actively discouraged you from applying for the farm loan or loan servicing.
- Documents showing any actual economic damages you suffered (that is, that you spent, lost or did not make money) because of USDA's treatment of your farm loan or loan servicing application.
According to a fact sheet, the claims are “submitted under penalty of perjury” and are reviewed by an independent adjuditcator before any award is made, and “fraudulent claims will be denied and are subject to potential prosecution.”
Limbaugh and others in the right-wing media have previously claimed that a similar USDA discrimination settlement with black farmers, known as the Pigford case, was “reparations.” Limbaugh has also described as “reparations” President Obama's economic program, Obama's election as president, unemployment benefits, and health care reform.