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Ear to the Ground

Obama’s USDA Leaves Subsidy Payees More Places to Hide

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Posted on May 20, 2010
Flickr / mattdente (CC-BY-SA)

Yasha Levine, who reported for us on tea party diva Michele Bachmann’s hypocritical penchant for federal farm subsidies, tipped us off that the Obama administration and Congress are making it harder to track the millionaires who hit up Uncle Sam for crop cash.

Environmental Working Group:

The Environmental Working Group has worked hard to track the billions lavished on the wealthiest and largest farm operations in the country, in the hope that releasing the information would spur public demand for a sane and sensible agriculture policy. By following the money, we’ve exposed the grossly inequitable federal farm spending that enables the biggest subsidy recipients to maximize their haul of taxpayer dollars while skirting tepid regulations.

Our 2007 database used previously unavailable records to uncover nearly 500,000 individuals who had never been identified as farm subsidy recipients. Many had been shielded by their involvement in byzantine mazes of co-ops and corporate entity shell games. For example, the database revealed that Florida real estate developer Maurice Wilder, reportedly worth $500 million, was pulling in almost $1 million a year in farm subsidies for corn farms he owns in several states.

Unfortunately for our 2010 update, the data that provided such a revelatory account of just who receives the billions paid out in the maze of federal farm subsidy programs is no longer available to us.

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By John Thacker, May 24, 2010 at 9:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t really care too much if a politicians receives subsidies, so long as the program is run in a fair manners.  I care about how a politician votes.

The complaints about Bachmann seem to me to be like calling a Democrat “hypocritical” for accepting the Bush tax cuts (and not voluntarily sending the money back to the Treasury, which you can do) while voting against them.  So?

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By Karl Bremer, May 20, 2010 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The story of Michele Bachmann’s farm subsidies was originally by myself in 2007 here:

http://tinyurl.com/6dq326

and here:

http://tinyurl.com/5t6rqf

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, May 20, 2010 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

Farm subsidies are an example of a one time needed policy that has outlived it’s original intent and has become a coveted cash cow protected by legislators that feed off that cow via lobbyist and financial support.  Supporting a legislator with a $100,000 donation to continue receiving a subsidy of $1,000,000 is a no brainer.  It’s the prime example of a win/win situation.

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