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Friday, August 17, 2018

Ron DeSantis just accepted $100K from the GEO Group, a controversial Florida-based private prison giant

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 12:53 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOEY ROULETTE
  • Photo by Joey Roulette
A political action committee supporting Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis just got a $100,000 from the GEO Group, a Florida-based private prison giant known for numerous human rights investigations.

According to public records, on Aug. 15 the Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC accepted $50,000 from GEO Group, Inc. and another $50,000 from the company's CEO, George C. Zoley.

The GEO Group, which is headquartered in Boca Raton and is the second largest private prison group in the country, was an early supporter of the DeSantis campaign. Records show they also gave the congressman another $50,000 back in March of 2017.

DeSantis isn't alone. The GEO Group has sprinkled cash all over Florida politicians, including Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics. In fact, it's hard to find someone who hasn't taken money from the group.

But it makes sense the GEO Group is heavily backing DeSantis, considering the congressman parrots everything the president says, and they directly profit from Trump's abysmal immigration policies.

According to the investigative website Sludge, the GEO Group currently holds almost a half billion dollars in ICE contracts. For some perspective, last year the Trump Administration spent a record $1.7 billion on private contracts, which means the GEO Group gets more direct cash from ICE than any other company. Plus, it doesn't hurt that former aides to Attorney General Jeff Sessions are now lobbyists for the GEO Group.

The company is a private prison behemoth and has immigration detention centers all over the country, including Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, California, and of course, Florida.
click to enlarge PHOTO VIA GEO GROUP
  • Photo via GEO Group
Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union accused the GEO Group of torturing immigrant detainees at their facilities in Colorado and Arizona, not to mention their detention center near Los Angeles was named the "most deadly ICE detention center of 2017" by the Detention Watch Network.

Besides their entire empire being centered on the ethically challenged concept of generating money from putting people in cages, the GEO Group has been accused of forcing inmates to work for basic necessities like food, water and hygiene products – allegations they've denied in numerous lawsuits.

Back in July, after criticizing the Trump Administration for its family separation policies, the Florida Democratic Party agreed to stop accepting money from private prison contractors. However, internal emails obtained by the Miami New Times, which has been covering the GEO Group extensively over the past couple years, showed high-ranking party officials bemoaning the loss of revenue.

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