Fusion: America’s second-largest private prison company accused of illegally donating to pro-Trump Super PAC
GEO Corrections Holdings Inc. made the $100,000 donation on August 19, just one day after the Department of Justice announced that it would phase out its private prisons, including several contracted to GEO. The donation was brought to light by the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit which filed a complaint to the Federal Election Commission Tuesday.The company “presumably sought to influence the federal government contracting process and to ensure that under the next administration the federal government would continue to offer it contracts,” the Campaign Legal Center said in its complaint. It asked the FEC to sanction both GEO and Rebuilding America Now PAC with fines.
“This is why we the federal contractor ban has been on the books for a long time,” Brendan Fischer, an election lawyer for the Center, told me in a phone interview. “The ban is to make sure officials are making contracting decisions based on what’s in the public’s interest, not based on the interests of their donors.”
While the FEC, which is politically deadlocked, has recently dragged its feet on investigating campaign finance violations, Fischer said he hoped this case would spur the commission to action. “We’re hoping this has been a clear enough case that they’ll be willing to enforce the ban now,” he said. (A similar complaint, filed by the group in July, claimed that a Super PAC supporting Clinton illegally accepted a $200,000 donation from a construction company that is a federal contractor and has not been acted on.)