The political arm of one of the leading operators of federally contracted immigrant detention facilities donated $45,000 last month to a joint fundraising committee supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, according to a recent Federal Election Commission filing, reports Roll Call. The political action committee representing The GEO Group, Inc., made the donation on July 27 to the Trump Victory fund, a joint committee also supporting the Republican National Committee and 11 state parties. Donors to GEO’s PAC are almost entirely employees of the Boca Raton, Florida-based company.
The GEO Group contracts with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Justice Department, and foreign, state and local governments to operate detention and correctional facilities. In 2015, it oversaw 64 facilities comprising 75,145 beds. Pablo Paez, the GEO Group’s vice president for corporate relations, declined to comment specifically on the donation, citing company policy. “Our company’s political activities are aimed at promoting the benefits of public-private partnerships in the provision of correctional and detention management services as well as offender rehabilitation and community reentry programs at both the federal level and in state and local jurisdictions across the country,” Paez said. The donation came weeks before the Justice Department said it would phase out its practice of hiring private prison companies — the GEO Group among them — to operate 13 correctional facilities. The group’s stock price plunged after the announcement even though ICE, the group’s biggest customer, indicated it would continue its private detention contracts.