A company that profits from detaining immigrants is contributing big money to politicians ahead of the midterm elections.
The GEO Group manages prisons and detention centers across the U.S. And, as the Trump administration detains more undocumented immigrants under its ‘zero tolerance’ policy, the company is in a position to rake in higher profits.
The private prison giant has already donated more than $800,000 to candidates this election cycle. But, in the middle of the migrant family separation crisis, some politicians are distancing themselves from The GEO Group.
Eight members of Congress, who are seeking re-election, rejected the company’s money in June. The GEO Group’s political action committee reported Republican Sen. James Lankford and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Chris Coons, Rep. Karen Bass, Rep. Filemon Vela, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Ted Lieu, and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver had voided contributions.
But other candidates, like Florida governor and Senate hopeful Rick Scott, have not. Scott has received more than $200,000 in donations to his Super PAC and his Victory Fund from a GEO Group subsidiary, the company's CEO George Zoley and his wife.
“If somebody wants to support my campaign, they know exactly what I stand for,” Scott said in an interview in August. “I don’t bow down to special interests. I’ve never had to bow down to special interests, and I’m not going to do it now.”
But for Scott, these donations are nothing new. The GEO Group donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Scott and his committees when he was running for governor and after he got elected. The CEO of GEO even held a $10,000-per-person VIP fundraiser in his home for Scott in 2014.
As governor, Scott championed a private prison plan that would have been very lucrative for the company. Mike Fasano was a Republican State Senator who opposed the plan.
“We were able to stop it, but it didn’t stop GEO from continuing to lobby and get very lucrative contracts off the backs of the taxpayers,” Fasano said.
That included a $3 million no-bid contract in Florida.
This is what you should know about GEO Group:
It doesn’t hold unaccompanied minors. But, it does have a facility for mothers and children in Texas. So, they are profiting from families being detained together.
It has been sued for alleged abuse in its facilities. GEO Group has been accused of forced labor, inhumane conditions, and preventable deaths in their detention centers. GEO group denies the allegations.
It's on its way to making millions more by housing immigrants. In September, GEO will open a new detention center in Texas with 1,000 beds to hold undocumented immigrants for ICE. The new center will bring in $44 million dollars a year in revenue for the company.
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