O’Malley for president? For-profit prison money for Congress?

Kevin Rutledge on May 30, 2015
The same day Gov. Martin O’Malley announces he's running for president, we announce questions and educate Gov. O’Malley about for-profit prisons lobbying millions of dollars during a meet and greet in his new Des Moines, IA office.

I discussed for-profit prisons with the newest presidential candidate and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, after he didn’t address Hector’s question about what he will do to stop for-profit prisons from spending millions of dollars lobbying for public policy to profit from detaining more immigrants in detention centers. 

Although he is opposed to for-profit prisons and responded that we need to act on the symbol of our country, the Statue of Liberty and not a barbed wire fence, I informed Gov. O’Malley to make the for-profit prison industry a priority considering the immigration reform he spoke hopeful of:

“in order for any of that to happen, I mean, these for-profit prisons spend millions on campaign donations and millions of dollars lobbying so they can profit from detaining more people, whether those are prisoners or immigrants. And that’s a huge concern, I mean, especially in Iowa, where you know we’ve got immigrants and refugees from all over the world and that’s something that we’re really concerned about.”

After asking me if “they [private prisons] give big money to Congress people?”, Gov. O’Malley was surprised when I told him the top 3 for-profit prisons spent $45 million lobbying lawmakers from 2002-2012, along with campaign contributions.

“Man, I wonder if I’ve met those guys,” Gov. O’Malley wondered.  “They’ve probably given to the DGA [Democratic Governors Association] too.”

The second largest for-profit prison GEO Group invested in over 400 candidates running for office on both sides of the aisle across the country.

Iowa may not have any for-profit prisons, but we do have a voice and opportunity to educate presidential candidates about #whoprofits from political influence and policies nobody knows about.

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Kevin Rutledge

Kevin Rutledge AFSC Governing Under the Influence Presidential Campaign Project

Kevin Rutledge is the Grassroots Education Coordinator with AFSC’s Presidential Campaign Project in Iowa.  Kevin has deep family roots in Quaker activism for peace and social justice.  A graduate from Iowa State University in Sociology and Criminal Justice, his previous work includes: United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) organizer, Public Citizen online organizer to overturn Citizens United, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, and a youth residential treatment facility.  Kevin hopes to one day return to Brazil and live by the beach.

“What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill .