UPDATE / VICTORY: After thousands take action, Hillary Clinton has agreed to stop accepting money from private prison lobbyists and to donate the direct contributions received thus far.
Statement from Presente.org’s Managing Director, Matt Nelson: "We applaud Secretary Clinton's decision to no longer accept donations from lobbyists and PACs associated with the for-profit prison industry. This is a victory for the more than ten thousand Presente.org members who took action and urged Clinton's campaign to cut ties with this horrible industry, and for thousands of other activists who have demanded that she cut ties with the prison industry. Now it's time for the presidential candidates who still accept private prison money to follow suit and commit to a future where no one is imprisoned for profit."
In her landmark criminal justice reform speech in July 2015, Hillary Clinton made a bold pronouncement: “It's time to change our approach. It's time to end the era of mass incarceration.” What she neglected to mention is that the private prison industry is helping to bankroll her presidential campaign, by using industry lobbyists as "money bundlers". These 'Bundlers' raise money from their wealthy friends for a candidate. As the gatekeepers to huge sums of money, bundlers are becoming increasingly powerful in presidential politics.
The Clinton campaign recently engaged two sets of such bundlers from the private prison industry's lobbyists. Richard Sullivan, a registered lobbyist for the GEO Group, one of the largest private prison companies in America, pulled in almost $45,000 as a 'bundler' for the Clinton campaign. At the same time, a team of lobbyist from Akin Gump, the primary lobbyists for Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest private prison company in the US, bundled almost $130,000 for Clinton in the first six months of 2015.
Because of private prison industry influence, the US Congress passed a law requiring the Department of Homeland Security to keep a minimum of 33,400 immigrants in detention, regardless of the immigrant population or crimes committed. No other law enforcement agency operates under a Congressionally mandated lock-up quota. The percentage of immigrants held in private facilities rose from 49% in 2009 to 62% today. The two largest for-profit companies in the US are CCA and the GEO Group.
We expect more from those who seek our votes. Urge Secretary Clinton and the DNC to end her ties with the private prison industry.