Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Kay Hagan, D-N.C., have introduced legislation to ensure that African American farmers, who successfully filed claims as a result of the 2008 Farm Bill, will receive the money they are entitled to. Earlier, the Department of Justice set a cap of $100 million dollars so anybody who was successful in their petition after the money was gone was out of luck. Grassley called their legislation a reasonable fix to ensure that those who have been successful in their cases are awarded what they rightly are entitled to.
"Years ago, thousands of African American farmers were found to have been unfairly discriminated against when applying for loans, credit, and other forms of financial help," Hagen said. "The 2008 Farm Bill passed without adequately addressing the costs required to settle the claims in the Pigford vs. Glickman case, and ultimately, help right the injustices these farmers faced so many years ago."
The Grassley/Hagan legislation allows the claimants to access the Department of Treasury permanent appropriated judgment fund once the farm bill funds are depleted. It also allows for reasonable attorney fees, administrative costs, and expenses to be paid from the judgment fund in accordance with the 1999 consent decree, and includes a section making fraud related to claims a criminal offense with punishment of a fine or up to 5 years in prison or both.