Posts Tagged Fraud

Cruz: Obama’s View of Federal Power ‘Knows Virtually No Bounds’

April 10, 2013
cruzSen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) (AP photo)

( – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) released a report documenting  attempted abuses of federal power by the Obama administration on  Tuesday, saying the administration “knows virtually no bounds.”

Cruz points to Obama’s own Supreme Court appointees, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, to make his case:

“When President Obama’s own Supreme Court nominees join their  colleagues in unanimously rejecting the Administration’s call for  broader federal power six times in just over one year, the inescapable  conclusion is that the Obama Administration’s view of federal power  knows virtually no bounds,” the senator’s report said.

The Obama administration’s over-reaching includes attempts to  electronically track Americans without cause and deny churches the right  to choose their own ministers.

Cruz, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on The  Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, said the cases “demonstrate  an astonishing view of federal power on behalf of the Obama  Administration.”

“If the Department of Justice had won these cases, the federal  government would be able to electronically track all of our movements,  fine us without a fair hearing, dictate who churches choose as  ministers, displace state laws based on the President’s whims, bring  debilitating lawsuits against individuals based on events that occurred  years ago, and destroy a person’s private property without just  compensation,” he said.

“Luckily, we do not have to live in that America,” Cruz added.

In one case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC,  the Justice Department argued it “had the right to oversee a church’s  choosing of ministers,” which even Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan  called “amazing.”

Cruz highlights one exchange between Kagan and Leondra Kruger, a DOJ  lawyer, in which Kagan asked, “Do you believe, Ms. Kruger, that a church  has a right that’s grounded in the Free Exercise Clause and/or the  Establishment Clause to institutional autonomy with respect to its  employees?”

“We don’t see that line of church autonomy principles in the Religious Clause jurisprudence as such,” Kruger said.

Kagan, who served as Solicitor General under Obama, said it  was “amazing” that DOJ believed that “neither the Free Exercise Clause  nor the Establishment Clause has anything to say about a church’s  relationship with its own employees.”

The court went on to unanimously reject the DOJ’s claim, saying, “We  cannot accept the remarkable view that the Religion Clauses have nothing  to say about a religious organization’s freedom to select its own  ministers.”

In another case, United States v. Jones, the DOJ argued that  the federal government could attach a GPS system to a car without cause,  despite the Fourth Amendment’s restrictions on unreasonable searches  and seizures.

The DOJ said it did not constitute a search because a “GPS system is  already in public view and a person should not expect it to be  private.”  The court again unanimously rejected its claim.

“The Obama Administration, through its Department of Justice, has  repeatedly advocated a radical theory of sweeping federal power,” the report says.

Cruz said he will continue to document cases “as long as this Administration  continues seeking ways to expand its power in direct violation of  Americans’ constitutional rights.” is not funded by the government like NPR. is not funded by the government like PBS. 

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GAO Report Confirms Pigford Designed for Undetectable Fraud

        by        Lee Stranahan   8 Dec 2012

An official government report released Friday admits that the Pigford “Black Farmers” Settlement was designed with no mechanism for objectively determining fraud but hid that shocking conclusion under pages of bureaucratic doublespeak.

“Burying the lede” is a journalistic term used to describe the act of hiding essential information by putting non-essentials in front of it. On December 7, 2012, the United States Government Accountability Office released report number GAO-13-69R, also known as “Civil Rights: Additional Actions in Pigford II Claims Process Could Reduce Risk of Improper Determinations.”

Just based on the title, you can already tell the report is needlessly wordy. This helps bury what should be the bigger story—that the Pigford settlement isn’t the mere victim of a few fraudsters but was, in fact, set up to make fraud not just rampant but also totally undetectable.

Breitbart News has been reporting for years now that the Pigford settlement allowed people to collect $50,000 just for claiming that they “attempted to farm” and that no other proof was needed. As a result, many claim that billions of dollars in fraudulent “attempted to farm” claims were paid out by the federal government. The new GAO report actually confirms what the late Andrew Breitbart pointed out time and again: the Pigford settlement is a massive swindle on the U.S. taxpayer, and it was designed that way from the start.

The GAO report’s conclusion seems like it bears good news; there are systems in place that would detect fraud. It says on Page 3:

Identifying and denying fraudulent or otherwise invalid claims among tens of thousands of claims submitted is a daunting task. The parties charged with carrying out the terms of the Pigford II settlement have designed and operated a system of internal control that, in general, provides reasonable assurance of identifying and denying fraudulent or otherwise invalid claims.

This “reasonable assurance” of denying fraud, however, is illusory. A tidbit buried in the middle of a wordy paragraph on the same page undermines this defense: “These design weaknesses, hence, cannot be modified by the implementing parties.”

Design weaknesses? Keep reading and you’ll find that it’s a “design weakness” that destroys the previous insistence on effective oversight.

For example, by the terms of the settlement agreement, most claims must be evaluated based solely on the information submitted by the claimants and, as a result, the adjudicator of these claims has no way of independently verifying that information.

Let’s go slowly through that paragraph. There are three main points it makes:

  1. “By terms of the settlement agreement” shows the fraud is baked right in. This is a feature, not a bug.
  2. “most claims must be evaluated based solely on the information submitted by the claimants” means that a majority of claims are judged based only on statements by the person who stands to collect a $50,000 check.
  3. “adjudicator of these claims has no way of independently verifying that information” means that there’s no way for the person judging the claim to check for fraud.

In other words, the lawyers and politicians who designed Pigford gave people judging a claim’s validity no objective way to determine whether it is actually fraudulent or not; they have to accept the claimant’s statement as truth. In a government payout program whose architects anticipated some level of fraudulent or duplicate claims, no one included oversight against such a contingency.

Photo: gwdexter

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