Darling of the Drug War: Hillary Clinton Campaign Funded by Private Prison Lobby

Jake Anderson
July 27, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) A new report released by The Intercept confirms that two of Hillary Clinton’s top campaign donors are the biggest private prison contractors in the world, Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group.

The report underscores the role of lobbying “bundlers,” which the Hillary campaign refers to as “HillRaisers.” Bundlers are extra powerful fundraisers—almost like super lobbyists—who act as financial intermediaries when candidates acquire campaign funds. Most major candidates use them. Five of the Clinton campaign’s bundlers work for lobbying and law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, which received lobbying fees totaling $240,000 from Corrections Corporation of America last year.

Another bundler for Corrections Corporation of America, Brian Popper, who lobbies for the Clinton campaign, most recently worked to shield CCA from Freedom of Information Act requests.

Clinton bundler Richard Sullivan, who works for Capitol Counsel, garnered $44,859 from another giant private prison company, Geo Group, which also runs for-profit immigrant detention centers.

Clinton isn’t the only presidential candidate using bundlers; in fact, she’s not even the only candidate hiring Akin Gump. The company also touts both Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush as clients.

Hillary Clinton’s stance on the prison industrial complex has been a complex one, and has seen her transition from a progressive young lawyer to a spokeswoman for corporate America and Wall Street. In her early days, she vowed to devote herself to criminal justice and even helped to repeal a mentally handicapped black man’s execution. Now, she lends her unenthusiastic support to the death penalty and takes campaign funds from private prisons that have overseen a doubling in prison populations between the years of 2000 and 2010.

RELATED: Hillary Clinton Calls For “Toppling” the 1%…While Being Bankrolled by the 1%

Of course, Hillary Clinton isn’t the only presidential candidate partially funded by private prison companies. In May, Anti-Media reported on Marco Rubio’s donations from both Geo and CCA. These companies have spent more than $25 million on lobbying efforts since 1989.

Perhaps these candidates truly don’t see their role in the cycle, but that’s hard to believe. What’s far more likely is that the prison industrial complex has become such an entrenched element of economic disparity and social injustice in this country that politicians can’t even differentiate it from normal corporatism. What needs to be understood is that private prisons perpetuate a generational cycle of incarceration fueled by the Drug War, systemic racism, and unjust legislation. Any political candidate accepting money from lobbyists who represent private prisons is on the wrong side of history and can’t possibly purport to represent the people.

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Jake Anderson joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in April of 2015. His topics of interest include social justice, science, corporatocracy, and dystopian science fiction. He currently resides in Escondido, California. Learn more about Anderson here!