USDA withholds releasing the names of everyone who receives farm subsidy payments, hiding the names of a portion of farm subsidy recipients.
An advocacy group that publishes the data says that the decision to withhold recipient names obscures how billions of dollars of taxpayer money is spent.
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“It’s a mystery as to why the USDA began to hide the names of many recipients,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs for the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
How it Works
EWG files a Freedom of Information Request every year to obtain information about who receives farm subsidies, where the recipients live and how much they get. That information then goes into a public database that dates back to 1995. The most recent version, containing data from 2020 and 2021, was released Wednesday.
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Faber said USDA told them the changes occurred because of a software update to its reporting system in 2019, during the Trump administration.
USDA has denied the nonprofit’s appeals requesting the names of the obscured individuals.