Judicial Watch • Tom Vilsack

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Whistleblower Reveals Indoctrination Program Requiring USDA Staffers to Bang on Tables, Chant, “The pilgrims were illegal aliens”

Judicial Watch has released previously unseen USDA videos revealing a compulsory “Cultural Sensitivity Training” program. A whistleblower reported to Judicial Watch that employees were required to bang on tables, chanting in unison “The pilgrims were illegal aliens” while being instructed to no longer use the word “minorities,” but to replace it with “emerging majorities.” Judicial Watch received the videos pursuant to a May 18, 2012, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

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The sensitivity training sessions, described as “a huge expense” by diversity awareness trainer and self-described “citizen of the world” Samuel Betances, were held on USDA premises. The diversity event is apparently part of what USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack described in a memo sent to all agency employees as a “new era of Civil Rights” and “a broader effort towards cultural transformation at USDA.”  In 2011 and 2012, the USDA paid Betances and his firm nearly $200,000 for their part in the “cultural transformation” program.

USDA Training Administrator, Vincent Loran, in an October 10, 2011, email previously revealed by Judicial Watch, asked Betances for a copy of a training video vowing to keep it secret. “It will not be used for or show [sic] in any way shape or form,” Loran promised.

Update: Records received on May 2, 2013 came from the Animal Plant & Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in response to a January 18, 2013 appeal.  The supplemental response from that division of USDA showed:

  • Legible contracts (where previously blurry ones were sent);
  • Names of officials authorizing the expenditures were disclosed in full (where previously they had been redacted on claims of privacy);
  • Firm fixed price contracts were frequently amended with substantial increases in bottom line costs to the government.

Clearer and previously unreleased documents now show that this division of USDA actually spent a total of $174,869 on diversity training for the specified period.  Contract terms called for 3-hour sessions, amounting to an hourly rate of $2,534.33

UpdateRecords  received came from the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in response to a March 11, 2013 appeal.  The supplemental response from this division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) showed that:

  • A previously concealed cultural diversity training session occurred in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • Additionally, agency staffers had to find a way to fund the trainer’s first-class airfare, required by supplemental specifications of his contract.
  • Also, multiple employees complained after the session that they would have preferred to hear more on the subject and less about the trainer.

To see the entire USDA production uncut watch below:

To see the video clips and press releases click here.

To see all documents regarding this investigation click here.

To read the Corruption Chronicles blog on the investigation click here.

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