May 7, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) Everyone’s favorite water-guzzling Republican, Marco Rubio, wants to be the next President of the United States. And as all campaigns typically go, politicians need money to get noticed.
Big Pharma, oil corporations, bankers and the gun lobby are notorious for wielding their checkbooks to buy influence in Washington. The script is no conspiracy at this point. Wealthy companies target a Brooks Brother’s suit-wearing panhandler attempting to claw their way to the top of the political food chain. Cash is exchanged, and alliances are made.
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One rising player in the game of buying and selling politicians is surprisingly going unnoticed: the private, for-profit prison industry. While one can only assume that it is not by accident that these companies and their contributions are flying under the general public’s radar, we as a people need to place a media tracking device on the activities of these professional jailers.
GEO and Corrections Corporation of America are the two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States. These companies, along with their peers, have dished out more than $10 million to political campaigns since 1989 and almost $25 million has been spent on lobbying efforts. What has this expense bought the prison industry? Apparently, it has purchased quite a bit. These private businesses generate $3.3 billion in annual revenue, and their market share has skyrocketed.
Private prisons make money by keeping people locked up behind their concrete walls. Politicians assist in passing laws. The more laws that are on the books, the more criminals that are created. The more criminals that exist, the more money a private prison can accumulate. The more money a lobbyist has at his disposal, the more money a politician can receive. As anyone can piece together, this process describes the vicious cycle of corruption that currently plagues Washington. While this unscrupulous financial merry go round benefits the parties involved, it is the innocent person on the street who suffers.
The private federal prison population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010. Nearly half of the immigrants in prison are currently housed in the cells of private companies. That number was roughly 25% a decade ago. There are approximately 130 private prisons currently operating in the United States.
Marco Rubio, the US Senator from the state of Florida and current presidential candidate, is a direct beneficiary of the racket that is the private prison system in the United States. In fact, Rubio is the US Senate’s top career recipient of contributions from previously mentioned GEO, the country’s second-largest for-profit prison company. GEO has put nearly $40,000 in Rubio’s campaign fund and given another $2 million to the Republican Party of Florida, Rubio’s home state. The prison company and current Senator have been in bed together going all the way back to when Rubio served as the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. While leading the House, GEO was awarded a state government contract for a $110 million facility. It was not long after that when Rubio hired an economic consultant who just so happened to be a former trustee of a GEO real estate trust. It should also be noted that GEO Group’s co-founder and chief executive, George Zoley, has personally donated $6,480 to Rubio since 2009.
After Rubio was elected to the US Senate in 2010, he appointed Cesar Conda as his chief of staff. Conda, who is a professional lobbyist by trade, is the co-founder of a company called Navigators Global. By what could be no coincidence, it just so happens that Navigators Global is GEO’s principle lobbying firm. Even after Conda joined Rubio’s staff in 2011, the lobbyist still accepted payments of $150,000 from his former employer. In 2014, the chief of staff took a leadership position in Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC as a senior adviser. Unsurprisingly, GEO became a top-10 financial donor to the PAC, contributing $16,000 in 2014.
No matter how many Fox News pundits or even Rubio himself stays silent on the subject, the facts dictate that the junior Senator from Florida is a stooge for the private prison industry.
And this isn’t the first time that for-profit prisons have been caught buying government officials. In 2011, a Pennsylvania judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison for conspiring with private prison executives to jail teens with maximum sentences in exchange for accepting $1 million in bribes.
Do you believe that Rubio was elected by his constituents to serve the people of Florida, or a corporation that profits by imprisoning those same voters?
Floridians may have been duped into voting for this swarthy charlatan, but an entire nation cannot afford to be seduced by such a two-faced frontman for oppression.
It’s ok though. Rubio says that he stands for the American people.
Nothing to see here, keep moving along.
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