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President Donald Trump’s farm bailout program sent payments to some farmers who had previously been convicted or accused of fraudulently obtaining federal agriculture subsidies, Yahoo! News reported. 

According to data obtained by the Environmental Working Group, a liberal nonprofit, three farm operations that violated federal farm subsidy rules received more than $300,000 in payments from the $28 billion agriculture bailout Trump initiated in 2018.

Although farmers are supposed to lose all eligibility for U.S. Department of Agriculture programs if they’re convicted of felony fraud, the Trump administration seems more interested in cracking down on food assistance for the poor. 

A Kansas farmer allegedly underreported his 2015 corn crop by thousands of bushels in order to qualify for higher federal crop insurance payments. He received $250,000 in Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments in 2018 and 2019. 

An Iowa farmer was convicted of crop insurance fraud in 2018, but received $13,000 from MFP.

An Illinois farm received $62,000 from MFP, despite allegations of bilking a commodity subsidy program in 2014. 

“That farm subsidy and crop insurance fraudsters can get government checks from President Trump’s bailout underscores just how deeply flawed and rushed out the door the program is,” Don Carr, a senior adviser for the Environmental Working Group, said. 

The Trump administration launched the $28 billion program on top of the roughly $20 billion the federal government already spends on farmers each year in order to compensate farmers for China’s tariffs on American agriculture exports. The USDA characterized China’s tariffs as “unjustified,” although they were viewed as a retaliation against Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports. 

Democrats said the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, would look into their complaints about the farm assistance program last week. 

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said that if the beneficiaries of the bailout committed fraud in the past, it seemed inappropriate. 

“If, in fact, people convicted of crop insurance fraud are now getting these payments, that certainly doesn’t seem right to me,” Stabenow told HuffPost. “And at the same time that [the USDA is] trying to set these standards and paperwork and bureaucracy around making it harder for people to be able to eat and have access to food.”

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