Friday, September 17, 2010

Maybe I Jumped the Gun With Yesterday's Title

Because the article I've linked to today might just be the most depressing analysis of CCA's political clout and its dealings with ALEC over SB1070 and similar immigration laws that I've ever seen.  Basically, CCA (and to a lesser extent, GEO), contribute directly to the campaigns of politicians in at least 5 states that are considering introducing, or have already introduced, legislation similar to Arizona's "Breathing While Brown" law.  They circumvent limits on contributions by sending donations from the company itself, an independent Political Action Committee, and from employees directly, so that they are able to bribe politicians with far more money than campaign finance laws are supposed to allow for (Oh, loopholes). 

In addition to direct campaign contributions, CCA employs a lobbyist that sits on the Public Safety task force of ALEC, the same task force that drafted and then shopped around a model version of the "Breathing While Brown" law.  CCA then contributes to the campaigns of politicians who support the legislation, as the article notes.  "Many of the legislators helping to earn CCA more profits with radical anti-immigrant bills mirroring SB1070 have been recipients of private prison industry cash or have worked closely with the CCA-funded ALEC organization."  ALEC is also a membership-based organization, and has claimed in the past that up to 1/3 of state-level legislators were members, giving them direct, unfettered access to the corporate manipulation employed by CCA and other industries trying to harm this country.

But apparently for CCA, even all that spending doesn't buy it the type of political influence it wants to ensure we continue sending ever-increasing hordes of American citizens to prison.  No, they directly lobby on issues like immigration and oversight of government contractors.  They lobby to enhance penalties for immigration violations, which has caused our immigration detention system to explode tenfold in the past decade.  They lobby against oversight of their facilities by opposing legislation that would simply require them to respond to FOIA requests, so the public's access to information about the abuses and negligence that take place in their facilities is all but completely snuffed out.  I have reported in the past on the hundreds of thousands of dollars they spend trying to influence legislation in the Federal Government, but they also retain lobbyists in the legislatures of every state they have operations in.  CCA spent $50,000 already this year lobbying in just Tennessee, and hundreds of thousands, if not millions more, in other states.

I really hate you both, CCA and ALEC.  You are working to systematically destroy this country and the freedoms it was founded upon.  You are thinly-veiled cogs in the machine of social control.  You are parasitic, amoral entities and a drain on the American economy and society.

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