WASHINGTON – The Campaign Legal Center filed a letter today with the Federal Election Commission providing additional evidence that private prison company GEO Group illegally contributed a total of $225,000 to the Donald Trump-affiliated super PAC Rebuilding America Now, in violation of the 75-year-old ban on government contractors making political contributions.
"By contributing to a super PAC closely associated with Trump—the only presidential nominee to endorse private prisons—GEO presumably sought to influence the government contracting process and to ensure that a Trump administration would protect its access to taxpayer dollars," said Brendan Fischer, associate counsel for the Campaign Legal Center.
"Government contracting is the most obvious way for a politician to reward friends and political donors, which is why companies that receive contracts have been banned for 75 years from making political contributions. Officials are supposed to decide how taxpayer money is spent based on what's best for the public, not based on what's best for their big money backers."
Today's filing is a follow-up letter to CLC's original complaint filed on Nov. 1, 2016 after GEO gave $100,000 to Rebuilding America Now the day after the Obama Administration announced it would be ending private prison government contracts. GEO receives 45 percent of its annual revenue from federal contracts, and its stock soared the day after Trump's election.
The filing describes how the GEO subsidiary that made the $225,000 in contributions, GEO Corrections Holdings, Inc., is listed as the "employer" in multiple labor relations cases involving federally-contracted detention facilities, and has stated in state and federal proceedings that it operates detention facilities. Additionally, both GEO Group and GEO Corrections Holdings, Inc. are effectively indistinguishable and both appear to rely on taxpayer funds for their operations.
The company also contributed $200,000 to the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC associated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and last year gave $100,000 to super PAC supporting Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential bid.
CLC filed a similar complaint in July against a super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton, Priorities USA Action, for accepting a $200,000 contribution from a federal contractor, Suffolk Construction Company.
CLC more recently filed complaints with the FEC against both the Trump and Clinton campaigns for coordinating with their super PACs in violation of federal law.