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Agency Asleep at Tractor Wheel? Rich Collect Farm Subsidies

Between 2003 and 2006 thousands of ineligible multi-millionaires cultivated farm subsidies from the US Agriculture Department. A congressional report shows that a financial firm executive, a professional sports team owner, a former executive of a technology company, and residents of Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom received thousands of dollars of taxpayer money via farm subsidies.

Officials at the Agriculture Department say they're innocent, since the congressional investigators could access IRS records off limits to them. Instead the Agriculture Department relies on a one-time self certification by those collecting that they don't make more than $2.5 million. The Agriculture Department also noted a relatively small margin of error, considering investigators found only that 2,702 (out of a total of 1.8 million) wrongly received payments during the period.

While government waste doesn't shock me, I'm curious how non-farming millionaires justified taking farm subsidies. Wait a second, considering CEOs flew to Washington in private jets to beg for taxpayer money last week, I guess none of this surprises me.


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