Eight human rights and prison industry watchdog groups are opposing the nomination of Stacia Hylton to head the U.S. Marhals Service, says the Washington Times. Hylton is a Justice Department veteran who recently worked as a consultant to one of the nation’s largest private prison companies. The organizations raised conflict of interest charges concerning Hylton’s consulting work earlier this year for the Florida-based GEO Group, which has held of millions of dollars in contracts with the Marshals Service.
Citing a report by the Washington Times, the groups cited Hylton’s acceptance of $112,500 in consulting fees from the GEO Group after leaving her post earlier this year as federal detention trustee. “This is a prime example of the revolving door between the public and for-profit private sectors turning full circle,” said Alex Friedmann of Prison Legal News, a project of the Human Rights Defense Center that reports on criminal justice issues. “After cashing in on her experience in public law enforcement by taking a consulting job with GEO Group, Ms. Hylton has now been nominated for a high-level federal position where she will oversee detention services for the U.S. marshals, including services provided by private prison firms such as GEO,” he said. Last month, a White House official said Hylton would not require a waiver from President Obama’s ethics rules, which bar appointees for two years from working on matters involving recent clients. So far, more than two dozen high-level appointees have been given full or partial waivers.” After review, it was determined  she could easily be recused from participating in particular matters in which that client was a party,” said the official. “This recusal, along with the Obama administration’s ethics pledge and other ethics restrictions, will ensure that she can serve ably and effectively as director of the U.S. Marshals Service.”