5 Ways Anti-Government ‘Protester’ Ammon Bundy Depends On The Government

Since January 2, a small, armed group of people have been occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon. As Care2’s Robin Marty reported, the group is telling media they are “willing to kill or be killed” if necessary. At this point, there has been no violence; both local law enforcement and the FBI have made it clear that they want to find a peaceful solution. 

The occupation is a reaction to the sentencing for arson of local ranchers Dwight Hammond and his son Steve.

The Hammond family story is one that is fairly typical of ranchers in the West: they purchased their ranch, adjacent to the Malheur refuge, in 1964. By 1970, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had purchased much of the land around the ranch for the Malheur refuge. When the Hammonds were approached by the FWS with an offer to buy, they refused to sell their property, and there have been disputes between the two parties ever since, over grazing and water rights, and most recently over arson.

The Hammonds were sentenced for setting fires that spread onto government property in 2012. Despite receiving short sentences, which they served, last October they were resentenced to five years each, with credit toward the time they already served.

That aroused the passion of Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy (both seen above), who has been rallying support for the Hammonds and stirring hatred for the federal government. Responding to his call to action, several hundred people, mostly from out of town, walked in peaceful protest through the town of Burns, Oregon, on January 2 in support of the Oregon ranchers. Following the march, Bundy announced that along with several compatriots, he was occupying the headquarters of the Malheur Refuge.

Since the Hammonds have agreed to serve their sentences, it would seem that Bundy is simply creating an opportunity to pursue his own agenda.

The self-proclaimed militia men said they would stay at Malheur for as long as it takes to stop federal overreach, with Bundy declaring that he objects to government “tyranny.” However, while these mostly white, middle-aged, males present themselves as rugged outdoorsmen defending their rights against the feds, they are very dependent on government handouts.

1. Bundy Receives A Loan From The Small Business Administration For Over Half A Million Dollars

As Mother Jones reported, Ammon Bundy runs a company called Valet Fleet Services LLC, based in Phoenix. In 2010 Bundy’s business borrowed $530,000 through a Small Business Administration loan guarantee program, intended for businesses that don’t qualify for assistance in the private credit market. The government estimated that this subsidy could cost taxpayers $22,419. Whether or not Bundy repaid the loan is not listed in public records.

2.  Ranchers Who Use Federal Land Get Huge Discounts

Across the U.S., the federal government owns about 28 percent of the land, but in the West, that number is much higher at 47 percent. In some states, government agencies are the biggest landowner; in Nevada, 80 percent of land is federally owned. So it is very common for ranchers to lease land from the government, and they “have long paid less than a third of the average private-land rate,” according to The Atlantic.

3.  The Government Protects Ranchers’ Livestock

Under a program called “Wildlife Services,” at least 40 million animals have been shot, poisoned, snared and trapped over the past 15 years. More accurate is its former name: “animal damage control.” The Atlantic describes the government’s predator-killing program:

In 1994 this program cost $55.9 million nationwide, of which roughly $22 million was spent on western livestock operations. The animals killed nationwide with this money included 163 black bears, 293 mountain lions, 1,928 bobcats, 8,973 foxes, and 85,571 coyotes. Presumably, such substantial government support of various kinds justifies holding ranchers accountable.

4. Grazing Fees Are Hugely Discounted

According to a report published by the Center for Biological Diversity, livestock grazing is subsidized by federal agencies on public land in 11 Western states to the tune of nearly $300 million annually. The organization reports that monthly grazing fees per cow and calf on non-irrigated  private rangeland average $20.10, but the equivalent fees on federal land are $1.35. Put another way, in 2012, the Bureau of Land Management’s fees for grazing were 93 percent cheaper than the average market rate in most Western states.

5.  Ranchers Get Emergency Feed Money Even When There Is No Emergency

Another big subsidy is what the government calls an “emergency feed program.” This was intended to be reserved for times of drought, but it is now handed out routinely, even during wet years. The Atlantic reports that this program has cost “an average of $26.5 million annually in these states for the past decade.”

So while the ranching community, including Ammon Bundy, likes to declare that it despises government interference, the reality is that they are heavily subsidized by the federal government, much more so than most U.S. citizens.

Take Action

You’ve probably noticed also that these armed white men are being referred to as “protestors” or “activists.” If you think the media should start calling them “domestic terrorists,” which is what they are, please sign our petition calling on the media to use “An Act Of Domestic Terrorism” to describe the Oregon takeover.



Danuta W
Danuta W1 years ago

Thank you for sharing

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

james C.
james C3 years ago

Only in America

Lori Hone
Lori Hone3 years ago

Disgusting hypocrites

Regus Slantei
Regus Slantei3 years ago

David F.,

There are a lot of rightwing pukes that actually are so gullible to believe anything they find linked on the internet.
What has happened to the Hammons should be regarded as our Constitution in action.

(And by the way Brutis, even **IF** one could contrive some problem with how the Hammons' case were handled, just how do YOU go from that **supposed** infraction, to then supporting full armed insurrection against the US government?!! Talk about a mindless little DRAMA QUEEN!!)

Pull your panties up, and get on with your low life already.

Your posts here on Care2 over the years have shown some consistency in portraying yourself as one mealy-mouthed, seditious little rightwing maggot, I'll give you that.


Marie W.
Marie W3 years ago

"“Affluenza defense.” You see in this case the government has done all it can for far too long to allow this group of its spoiled, lazy, bored and angry children to thrive. Examples include: endless subsidies, low to no interest loans, the endless destruction of public lands and waters at the hands of cattle and sheep and the well documented killing and torture of wildlife, all to appease their endless whining and inability of the majority to move cattle and employ measures to limit predator confrontations."

Ricky T.
Ricky T3 years ago

Flicking through the news channels...and NOTHING on #OregonUnderAttack! Goes to show media follow a deliberate stereotypical narrative.

...and he had the nerve to compare himself to Rosa Parks...what a d***head!

Bartley Deason
Bartley Deason3 years ago

Marianne C. wrote in a response to the Fred's comment:
"How do you get "it was never funded" out of that? What's your source for that?"

Jeeze, Marianne, do you REALLY want a response as to his source? Do yourself a favor and grab a hold of a large roll of toilet paper and a few cans of air freshener just in case he actually does give you his source.

Judie B.
Judie B3 years ago

If they were black or Muslim, they'd be dead by now. But because they are white Rethuglicon cronies, exercising their rights to terrorize under the Constitution, they get a pass? Shoot them, taze them, do whatever you have to do when they come up for air. Heck, lure them out with beer, pizza and beef jerky, if you must. Show them that the government DOES exist, and it doesn't tolerate domestic terrorism, regardless of skin color. Equality under the law.

Ronald Walker
RONALD Walker3 years ago

Dumb and Dumber 2! Or is this the stupid version of Dumb and Dumber 2? This is a peaceful take over? Right! Go home you welfare nobodies!