"GEO is one of the biggest players in the for-profit prison industry, with 69 correctional and detention facilities in the United States with about 75,000 beds," reports The Dallas News.
Florida-based GEO operates ICE detention centers all over Texas, and in other states, and it has donated money to more than 50 lawmakers in the current election cycle. Most of the lucky recipients are, surprise!, Trump-aligned Republicans.
Writes Dallas News Washington correspondent Madeleine Ngo, Senator John Cornyn III (R-TX, $10,000) and Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX 28th District, $14,700)were among the very top recipients of campaign donations from GEO's private detention company PAC.
The industry has received heat in recent months as reports have uncovered abuse and squalid conditions. GEO-operated facilities have also been heavily scrutinized. The company has faced class-action lawsuits that allege the company forced detainees to work. At one of its centers in Southern California, inspectors found nooses braided from bedsheets in 15 out of the 20 cells they searched. Seven suicide attempts have been made there, according to a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General report. At least three migrants have died in ICE custody at that center alone since June 2017.
Although Cuellar, a Democrat, has been a top recipient, the company has largely funneled money to powerful Republicans — including President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Trump received $20,000. McConnell, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of Virginia and Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia each received $15,000. McCarthy and Sen. Rick Scott of Florida each received $10,000. A PAC controlled by Pence received $5,000.
GEO also donated $40,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and $15,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee — campaign arms of the party.
The company's report provides a look into how the private detention companies profit from refugees caught in Trump's Southern Border migrant crackdown: [PDF link]
From GEO's corporate report:
New Project Activations Drive Continued Growth With Short-Term Start-Up Costs
During the year, we also expanded our portfolio of diversified facilities in the United States and internationally. At the state level, following the conclusion of renovation work during the fourth quarter 2018, we completed the activation of our company-owned, 661-bed Eagle Pass Correctional Facility in Texas. The Facility opened under a two year contract with the Idaho Department of Correction for the out-of-state housing, management, and supervision of medium-custody inmates.
At the federal level, also during the fourth quarter 2018, we completed the construction and activation of our new company-owned, 1,000-bed Montgomery Processing Center in Texas under a ten-year contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The Center was designed in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards. It is comprised of highly energy efficient buildings, able to withstand a category 5 hurricane, as well as enhanced recreational facilities including shaded pavilions, artificial turf soccer fields, basketball courts, paved walkways, and handball courts.
Earlier in the year, we also completed the activation of expanded capacity adding over 700 beds under our existing contracts at the Folkston ICE Processing Center in Georgia and the Aurora ICE Processing Center in Colorado.
[IMAGE: GEO GROUP CORRECTIONS AND DETENTION INC, screengrab from PDF]
— Tom Benning (@tombenning) July 10, 2019