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Crony Capitalism; Private Prison Stocks Have Doubled Since the Election

Update 2-23-2017   
It's official. Jeff  Sessions overruled the Obama administration's ruling to phase out Private Prison contractors for federal prisons. 


This is an update from a previous postabout the explosive rise of the Private prison industry. That article included a call to action for everyone to contact the Senate switchboard and protest Jeff Session’s confirmation. The Senate switchboard was overloaded with calls from like-minded activists, but Sessions was ultimately confirmed by the Senate to be the U.S. Attorney General. With that said, his confirmation was expected as the Republicans have the numbers. However, even the libertarian-leaning Rand Paul (R-KY) votedfor Sessions. 

Meanwhile, the stock prices of the top two private prisons, GEO Group and CoreCivic (formerly CCA), have continued rising. Their share prices have increased by 100% and 140% respectively in the three and a half months since Election Day. 

(via Google Finance)

There’s no other way to look this development; it’s crony capitalism. Their industry is entirely dependent upon government contracting, which is influenced by strategic political donations. Both companies donatedto Republicans over Democrats at a 9 to 1 ratio. 

For several years, neither company was held accountable for their poor track records. However, in August of last year, the Inspector General (IG) of the Department of Justice issued a comprehensive review of the private prisons that house federal prisoners. The IG report concluded that private prisons don’t offer significant savings to the taxpayers and there were more violent incidents in those facilities. One month later, a DOJ official announced that they planned to no longer issue contracts to private prison companies for federal prisons.

One day after that IG report was issued, a subsidiary of the GEO Group, Geo Corrections Holdings Inc, made a $100,000 donation to Donald Trump’s PAC, Rebuilding America Now. In reaction, a watchdog group, Campaign Legal Center, issued a formal complaintwith the Federal Election Committee (FEC). Their group contends that the GEO Group violated a federal law that bars companies from making political donations while holding or negotiating a federal contract. 

A company spokespersonfor the GEO Group pointed out that their subsidiary that made the donation, GEO Corrections Holdings Inc, which doesn’t have any federal contracts. The FEC has yet to make a decision. However, in the end, the GEO Group will likely avoid any penalties due to this technicality. Their company may not be guilty according to the letter of the law, but they are clearly guilty of violating the intent of the law. 

We can all agree that crony capitalism is alive and well in America. 

This post first appeared on Rackets, please read the originial post: here

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Crony Capitalism; Private Prison Stocks Have Doubled Since the Election


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