Pay-to-Play on Full Display? Private Prison Contractor Reaps Benefits from Illegal Campaign Spending

In response to reports that the first contract for a new immigrant detention center under the Trump administration will be awarded to GEO Group – which gave $225,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC, in violation of federal law– Brendan Fischer, federal and FEC reform program director at the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) released the following statement:

“For over 75 years, federal contractors have been prohibited from making contributions to federal candidates to protect against the appearance or reality that taxpayer-funded federal contracts are for sale. Private prison contractor GEO Group gave $225,000 to a super PAC closely affiliated with Trump’s campaign, and upon taking office, the Trump Administration reversed an existing policy phasing-out private prisons, then awarded GEO Group a new $110 million federal contract. Are taxpayer dollars being spent based on what is best for the public, or based on what is best for big donors? 

It is incumbent upon the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to enforce the longstanding federal contractor contribution ban and take action against GEO Group.”

Last November, CLC filed a complaint with the FEC alleging that GEO Group’s contributions to the super PAC Rebuilding America Now violated the contractor contribution ban, and filed a supplement in December.  

On March 1, CLC submitted a FOIA Request with the Bureau of Prisons and Office of Inspector General at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to find out more information about how the DOJ reached its conclusion to rescind the Aug. 18, 2016 memo in which President Obama decided to phase-out private prison contracts.