DOJ’s Policy Reversal Shows Why It Is Illegal for Private Prisons to Donate to Super PACs

Feb 24, 2017
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FEC Must Investigate $225,000 in Donations from Private Prison Company GEO Group to Trump Super PAC, in Violation of Contractor Ban

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo Thursday reversing the previous administration’s plans to phase-out the use of private prisons. In 2016, the Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the FEC alleging that private prison company GEO Group had illegally contributed a total of $225,000 to the Donald Trump-affiliated super PAC Rebuilding America Now, in violation of the 75-year-old ban on government contractors making political contributions.

“The DOJ’s policy decision to reverse its private prison phase-out is a clear-cut example for why we need a strong Federal Election Commission that will enforce election laws,” said Brendan Fischer, associate counsel for the Campaign Legal Center.

“One day after the Obama administration announced it would be ending GEO's contracts; GEO Group gave $100,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC, and added an additional $125,000 a few weeks later. Now, the Trump administration has made policy decisions that have benefitted GEO Group financially, including a reversal of the previous administration’s private prison policies and promising a national immigration crackdown. The reason that federal contractors have been banned for 75-years from making political contributions is to prevent pay-to-play in the contracting process. Officials are supposed to decide how taxpayer dollars are spent based on what's best for the public, not based on what's best for their big money backers.”

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