Source: Mother Jones

The country’s biggest private prison company may have run afoul of campaign finance law with a donation to Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign for US Senate, a campaign finance watchdog says.

GEO Group, which is based in Boca Raton, Florida, operates prisons and immigrant detention centers across the country. The company and its subsidiaries have received $560 million from federal contracts awarded by Immigration and Customs Enforcement since late 2016, according to OpenSecrets.org. During his tenure as governor, Scott has pushed for the expansion of private prisons in Florida: He campaigned on a pledge to drastically slash the state’s corrections budget, in part by transferring inmates to private lockups. And according to Federal Election Commission filings reported this week by the Tampa Bay Times, GEO Acquisition II, a subsidiary of GEO Group, donated $125,000 to a pro-Scott super-PAC in April after the governor announced his Senate bid.

Brendan Fischer, a lawyer at the Campaign Legal Center, says the subsidiary’s donation violated a federal law that prohibits government contractors from making political contributions. “This ban has been on the books for 75 years” to ensure that public policy isn’t “warped in favor of deep-pocketed contracting interests,” he says. GEO Group did not respond to requests for comment about the subsidiary’s donation.

,,,Since the 2016 election, GEO has profited immensely from Trump’s policies, and today it runs six facilities in Florida. It held its annual leadership conference last October in the state, at a golf resort near Miami that is owned by Trump.

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