Policy to Profits: GEO Group

Via Follow the Money | Edwin Bender

Corporations that profit from government spending often use campaign donations to get a foot in the door with lawmakers during policy debates, and ultimately a line-item in the state or federal budget. GEO Group is an example of this pay-to-play exchange.

ICE detention-facility contractorand private-prison company GEO Group announced total revenues of $614 million for the second-quarter of 2019, up $31 million from 2018’s second-quarter revenues of $583 million. First quarter revenues of 2019 were “the best in our history,” said CEO George Zoley.

Shortly after Trump took office, the administration awarded GEO Group a $110 million, 10-year federal contract.

The Trump administration budgeted $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2018 to support its immigration policies, and borrowed another $446 million from health services programs, including “$16.7 million taken from Head Start, $13.3 million from the National Cancer Institute, $12.1 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and $6.3 million from substance abuse treatment programs.”

FollowTheMoney.org documents more than $9.3 million since 2010 in contributions from GEO Group and its top executives to candidates and committees in state and federal elections, including $15,600 to Donald J. Trump.Nearly $2 million went to Republican candidates ($1.4 million to winners) and $505,240 to Democrats ($375,940 to winners); plus $5.9 million to Republican and Democratic political party committees. GEO Group also donated $225,000 to the Rebuilding America Now pro-Trump PAC, which resulted in a pay-to-play lawsuit by the Campaign Legal Center.

GEO Group has positioned itself to profit from the growing prison and immigrant detention center populations. Continued policy waffling about the immigration situation means steady revenues for GEO Group — at taxpayers’ expense.

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