Millionaires Get Farm Payments; Nobody Checking

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congressional investigators say a sports team owner, a financial executive and residents of Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia are among the more than 2,700 millionaire recipients of farm payments from 2003 to 2006. And it's not even clear they were farmers.

The Government Accountability Office says they were probably not eligible, but the Agriculture Department can't confirm that. Officials never checked their incomes.

The Agriculture Department says the investigators had access to IRS data that the department is not allowed to see.

The GAO says the problem will only get worse, because the payments they cited only covered the 2002 farm bill subsidies. The 2008 farm legislation has provisions that could allow even more people to receive improper payments without effective checks.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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