As far as campaign ammunition goes, it’s hard to top the label already being affixed to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in advance of the 2022 midterm elections. “He’s Been in Elected Office Since 1959,” the tag screams out. It will prove quite handy to his Democrat challenger should the 87-year-old political lifer decide to seek another six-year term.
Were Grassley to run and win re-election once again, this man whose career in political office pre-dates the Beatles, The Sound of Music, and the push-button telephone (1963!) would be 95 years old in January 2029 when his mind-boggling eighth term expires.
Enough Is Enough?
All indications are that Grassley would like to give it another go, and the GOP establishment is urging him to do so. Incumbency is that powerful a weapon. But back in Iowa, where the senator has always been popular, it appears voters may finally be ready to put this old warhorse out to pasture. “A majority of Iowans, including a third of Iowa Republicans,” surveyed in a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll do not want Grassley to run in 2022, the newspaper reports. “According to the poll, just 28% of Iowans hope Grassley decides to run again, and 55% say they hope he does not.”
Joe Biden’s installment in the White House has driven the point home to millions of Americans that many of our politicians today are nothing more than establishment placeholders. Biden is the Company Man who made it all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. There are many like him in Congress, and especially in the U.S. Senate, which thrives on seniority. Paul Kane of The Washington Post aptly described the advantages that come with decades of timecard-punching in the upper chamber in a December article:
“Every senator in his or her 80s sits atop one of the powerful legislative committees, which means many have a collection of aides and former aides working on K Street whose livelihoods are somewhat dependent on another Senate term.”
Whatever his ideological leanings may once have been, Grassley is now wholly enmeshed within the Swamp ecosystem. After six decades of playing this game in various forms, how can he possibly imagine any other way of conducting business? Here’s how damaging it can be.
The Great Pigford Swindle
Grassley and Biden Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack go way back. Vilsack is a former Iowa governor and state senator who also served as Barack Obama’s Agriculture secretary from 2009 to 2017. Vilsack is so tight with Big Ag corporate power that he is known as “Mr. Monsanto.”
Grassley enthusiastically supported Vilsack’s nomination for a second stint at the Cabinet department under Biden. “I have a long relationship with Secretary Vilsack,” Grassley said at his Senate hearing in February. “I can’t think of a single quarrel that I’ve had with Governor Vilsack.”
Vilsack is now helping to spearhead the Biden administration’s “racial equity” plan to shower “disadvantaged” minority farmers with $4 billion in debt relief. This federal taxpayer windfall will not be made available to struggling white farmers. Vilsack can count on his good friend Chuck Grassley to back this measure. In fact, they’ve tilled this fertile ground before.
“I’ve long worked toward ensuring black farmers receive justice for the decades of discrimination that occurred at the USDA,” Grassley said at Vilsack’s February Senate hearing. He elaborated:
“In my first discussion with then-to-be Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack in 2009, I brought up my work in the Pigford Consent Decree.
“A provision I led in the 2008 Farm Bill enabled more black farmers to bring their claims forward and authorized USDA $100 million for additional settlements.
“Mr. Vilsack vowed then to work closely with me on the issue and then immediately got to work.
“Under the leadership of Secretary Vilsack, USDA discovered the $100 million wasn’t enough to cover settlements that black farmers were entitled to under the consent decree.
“So in 2010, part of Secretary Vilsack’s budget request included over $1 billion to ensure a robust settlement for all black farmers who were discriminated against.
“The Claims Resolution Act was signed by President Obama in December of 2010 and implemented successfully by Secretary Vilsack.”
There’s only one thing wrong with this narrative. The Pigford Consent Decree proved to be a monument to government waste. Racial grievance was used to construct a fraud-riddled edifice that enriched Swamp personages along the way. The New York Times, hardly a conservative critic of Obama’s “racial equity” programs, reported in 2013 on Pigford:
“The compensation effort sprang from a desire to redress what the government and a federal judge agreed was a painful legacy of bias against African-Americans by the Agriculture Department. But an examination by The New York Times shows that it became a runaway train, driven by racial politics, pressure from influential members of Congress and law firms that stand to gain more than $130 million in fees. In the past five years, it has grown to encompass a second group of African-Americans as well as Hispanic, female and Native American farmers. In all, more than 90,000 people have filed claims. The total cost could top $4.4 billion.”
The scope of the fraud involved with the program shocked veteran D.C. government officials. From The Times report :
“In recent interviews, 15 current and former Agriculture Department employees who reviewed or responded to claims said the loose conditions for payment had opened the floodgates to fraud.
“’It was the craziest thing I have ever seen,’ one former high-ranking department official said. ‘We had applications for kids who were 4 or 5 years old. We had cases where every single member of the family applied.’ The official added, ‘You couldn’t have designed it worse if you had tried.’”
And now they want to do it again. Through his self-professed coordinated actions with Vilsack to shepherd into existence and massively fund an enormous race-based fraud on the American taxpayer for the benefit of Swamp insiders, Grassley has proved for whom he really works. After 60-plus years in political office, how could it be otherwise?
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.