- Date published:
11:06 am, May 2nd, 2010 - 7 comments
Categories: accountability, corruption, election funding, International, law and "order", national/act government, prisons, The Standard, us politics, youtube - Tags: geo group, judith collins, sensible sentencing trust, waitemata trust
Readers of this site will have noted that the authors here aren’t exactly supportive of privatizing prisons. There is far too much scope for kickbacks, backroom deals, and overt and covert funding of lobby groups aimed at increasing the prison ‘business’.
GEO Group is one of the major contenders to run private prisons here for Judith Collins, the Minister of Corrections. So look to Florida where the GEO group also runs prisons to see what can happen.
From Floridas Capitol News Service in a article last week..
The FBI is asking question about former House Speaker Ray Sansom’s involvement with a legislative deal to build a private prison. The news comes as the feds investigate Sansom, Marco Rubio, and former GOP Chairman Jim Greer for spending millions on Republican Party of Florida credit cards. As Whitney Ray tells us, the trouble for the GOP keeps growing.
A legislative plan to close as many as five state prisons and ship inmates to a private prison run by GEO Group was scaled back last month by public out cry.
Former House Speaker Ray Sansom originated the deal with an amendment in the 2008 state budget.
According to our source the feds may be searching to see if Sansom received any kickbacks from the company. GEO Group, formally known as Wackenhut, gave Sansom’s campaign 500 hundred dollars for his 2007 campaign.
The company gave 145-thousand dollars to the Republican Party of Florida in 2008, and another 130-thousand in 2009. Neither Sansom’s lawyer nor the FBI returned our requests for interviews.
Incidentally, the reason why he is a former House Speaker and also stepped down from his seat is because of controversy about using state funds to build a hanger for a big contributor to the state Republican party.
In local terms, this story makes me very suspicious about who exactly were the big contributors to the anonymous trusts supporting political parties. Like the Waitemata Trust that fed much of the money into the National party over much of this decade.
There are some policies that the National party and Act party are pursuing that make very little political sense. But those same policy shifts could greatly assist private companies moving into the commercial opportunities that the NACT government is creating. Similarly the rush to increase prison sentences and cut rehabilitation efforts advocated by the likes of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, and implemented across several governments makes little sense. It increases prison populations, but really doesn’t appear to have much effect on the rates of offending, the safety of the population from crime, or the rates of recidivism. Improving the rate of employment, something that this government is failing at, does have an effect.
As far as I can see, the capability for anonymous trusts to feed ‘anonymous’ business money to political parties and to lobby groups like the Sensible Sentencing Trust has not been constrained by either the Electoral Finance Act, or its very similar replacement by the NACT government. It is time to ensure that political parties and political lobbyist groups must operate financially transparently, and account for the financial influences on them to the voting public.
BTW: To forestall the inevitable reactions of the government spinster mouthpieces (like Hooten and Farrar) attacking the source of questions on such issues rather than debating the issue. I’d say that I’d be happy to account for the origin of the few thousand dollars that it has taken to run this site over the last two and a half years. Apart from a few small ($25-$100) donations, it has come from my bank account. Could they do the same? For instance I’d be quite interested in where the money came from for the ‘dictator’ billboard campaigns in 2007/8 or the ‘iwi/kiwi’ billboard campaigns in 2005 well before the official election campaigns.