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CCA Spent $2.5 million on Lobbying Federal Government in 2007

Via the T. Don Hutto blog, Forbes has an article detailing that Corrections Corporation of America, operator of many private prisons in Texas including the T. Don Hutto family prison, spent a whopping $2.5 million lobbying the federal government in 2007. This amount is on top of the $180,000-$235,000 that CCA spent lobbying in Texas in 2007.

According to the article, the lobbying came in three major areas: 1) lobbying to privatize the Bureau of Indian Affairs prison system, 2) lobbying against the Public Safety Act which would outlaw private prisons, and 3) lobbying against the Private Prison Information Act which would give the public the same access to private prison information as public prisons.

In addition to lobbying Congress, CCA lobbied the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and other federal agencies. Homeland Security and DOJ are big targets for private prison corporations because they hand out lucrative federal detention contracts, which have become a boom industry for private prisons as the immigration law becomes more punitive.

The article goes on to list some of CCA's lobbyists who include such well-heeled folks as:

  • Bart VerHulst, previously chief of staff for former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.;
  • Mike Quinlan, former director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons; and
  • Gus Puryear, previously counsel to Frist and an adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Followers of private prison news may know that Gus Puryear, in addition to being a former CCA lawyer and lobbyist and aid to Frist and Cheney, is a current nominee for the federal judgeship in Nashville. His nomination has drawn considerable opposition.

One of the ironies of the private prison industry is that, because the company's profit is all garnered through government contracts, all $2.5 million spent by CCA on lobbying was originally government money that CCA made off previous government contracts. We'll keep you updated on further news about private prison corporations lobbying.

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