Lobbying · Private Prisons

Private Prisons Spend Millions On Lobbying To Put More People In Jail

One can say that today, all the posts on TFC  have something in common: reporting on corporate malfeasance aided by political and judicial collusion.

Think Progress

Yesterday, the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) released a report chronicling the political strategies of private prison companies “working to make money through harsh policies and longer sentences.” The report’s authors note that while the total number of people in prison increased less than 16 percent, the number of people held in private federal and state facilities increased by 120 and 33 percent, correspondingly. Government spending on corrections has soared since 1997 by 72 percent, up to $74 billion in 2007. And the private prison industry has raked in tremendous profits. Last year the two largest private prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group — made over $2.9 billion in revenue.

JPI claims the private industry hasn’t merely responded to the nation’s incarceration woes, it has actively sought to create the market conditions (ie. more prisoners) necessary to expand its business.

According to JPI, the private prison industry uses three strategies to influence public policy: lobbying, direct campaign contributions, and networking. The three main companies have contributed $835,514 to federal candidates and over $6 million to state politicians. They have also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on direct lobbying efforts. CCA has spent over $900,000 on federal lobbying and GEO spent anywhere from $120,000 to $199,992 in Florida alone during a short three-month span this year. Meanwhile, “the relationship between government officials and private prison companies has been part of the fabric of the industry from the start,” notes the report. The cofounder of CCA himself used to be the chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party.

Continue reading here…

Koch Brothers · Koch Industries

Behind the Story: Koch Industries Lobbying (Video)

Huffington Post


Charles and David Koch, the owners of the country’s second-largest private corporation, are libertarians of long standing, who contend that government regulations, taxes and subsidies stifle individual initiative and hamper American competitiveness. In recent years, the Kochs have played an increasingly public role as financial angels for conservative causes, politicians and foundations.

What’s not so well-known is the activity of Koch Industries in the trenches in Washington, where a Center for Public Integrity examination of lobbying disclosure files and federal regulatory records reveals a lobbying steamroller for the company’s interests, at times in conflict with its public pose.

The money that Koch (pronounced “coke”) has spent on lobbying in Washington has soared in recent years, from $857,000 in 2004 to $20 million in 2008. The Kochs then spent another $20.5 million over the next two years to influence federal policy, as the company’s lobbyists and officials sought to mold, gut or kill more than 100 prospective bills or regulations.       Continue reading here…

Justice Antonin Scalia · Justice Clarence Thomas · Justice Sam Alito · Virginia Lamp Thomas

Justice Thomas’s wife now lobbyist

Here’s another example of the “in your face” violation of ethics that Justices Scalia, Roberts and Thomas frequently toss at their critics.   The SCOTUS does not have oversight on their Justices.  I think it’s about time an oversight committee was formed.

Clearly Supreme Court cases have been influenced by their pandering and consorting with the likes of the Koch brothers and others.  In my opinion this behavior is an outrage.

Now Mrs. Thomas is a part of a lobbying firm to help with “governmental affairs” and get this: political donation strategies.   The Citizens United case entailed the “free speech aspect of “political donations”! 

If no one  about their behavior, then no one is listening.  I recommend reading the entire Politico article.


She started as a congressional aide in the 1980s, became a midlevel Republican operative, then briefly left politics, reemerging in 2009 as founder of a tea party group before stepping down amid continued questions about whether her actions were appropriate for the spouse of a Supreme Court justice.

Now, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, has recast herself yet again, this time as the head of a firm, Liberty Consulting, which boasts on its website using her “experience and connections” to help clients “with “governmental affairs efforts” and political donation strategies.

Thomas already has met with nearly half of the 99 GOP freshmen in the House and Senate, according to an e-mail she sent last week to congressional chiefs of staff, in which she branded herself “a self-appointed, ambassador to the freshmen class and an ambassador to the tea party movement.”

But her latest career incarnation is sparking controversy again.

Thomas’s role as a de facto tea party lobbyist and — until recently — as head of a tea party group that worked to defeat Democrats last November “show a new level of arrogance of just not caring that the court is being politicized and how that undermines the historic image of the Supreme Court as being above the political fray,” said Arn Pearson, a lawyer for Common Cause, the left-leaning government watchdog group.


GOP · GOP Agenda · GOP Greed · GOP Hubris · GOP Hypocrisy

Nice Timing: New York Times Investigation Of Incoming GOP Senator Drops After Elections

Did they really think this whole thing would go unnoticed?   This is par for the course with the GOP.  It’s unfair and unbalanced!

Huffington Post

One week after Rep. Brad Ellsworth went down to defeat in the race against Dan Coats to fill the seat of retiring Senator Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), The New York Times ran an A1 story about the work Coats did to help Cooper Industries, a Texas corporation that moved its headquarters to Bermuda to evade US taxes.

Nice timing.

“He was annoyed the Times chose to wait until after the election to write that story,” Jon Kott, a spokesman for Ellsworth, told The Huffington Post. “This is something he said for eight months and then a week after [Coats] gets elected…”

The article revealed that Coats served as co-chairman of a lobbyist team for Cooper Industries in 2007, working “behind the scenes” to block legislation in the Senate that would have closed a tax loophole worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the company.

It’s surprising more wasn’t made of the issue, since closing offshore loopholes and preventing American jobs from going overseas were central talking points for Democrats this election season.

“We did make this an issue during the campaign and the Indiana media was somewhat receptive but it didn’t seem to gain traction,” Kotts told HuffPost in a follow-up email.

A review of the attack-ad website Lobbyist Dan Coats shows it doesn’t include the words: “U.S. jobs,” “loophole,” “headquarters,” “Bermuda,” or “Cooper.”

Story continues here
U.S. Politics

Chamber’s War On Obama Just Getting Started

President Obama needs to shed his “bi-partisan” image and get into fighting mode these next two years.  Between the GOP, Big Business, The Chamber of Congress and The Tea Party, he is literally caught between a rock and a hard place.  Playing “nice” is not an option…

The Huffington Post

President Barack Obama’s apparent hopes to the contrary, the head of the nation’s flagship business lobby has made it clear that the corporate campaign against the White House’s agenda is far from over.

In a newly-published BusinessWeek cover story worth reading for the gloating alone, Devin Leonard reports that U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue is gearing up for more fights, and is more than willing to inject unprecedented amounts of Chamber money directly into electoral politics. Donohue’s priorities, as reported by Leonard, are unsurprising: tax cuts, deficit cuts, foreign trade pacts, and deregulation — meaning he wants to tear down the health care and financial reform laws passed earlier this year.

So while The New York Times suggested Thursday that corporate America may be softening its view of the Obama administration, Donohue finds that idea hilarious, according to BusinessWeek. “Oh, hell no,” he chuckles to Leonard, when asked if the battles between Obama and his organization have ended. “They are in the second inning.”

Financial Regulatory Reform · GOP · GOP Agenda · GOP Hubris · John Boehner

Same Old Song


Looking  over the Republican game plan for November and it’s hard to tell, absent any outside reference points, whether it’s from 1980, 1990, 2000, or 2010.

For 18 months, Republicans have been torn between their ideological nature, and their need to appear different from the party that ended the Bush era in the crapper. In a sign of just how confident they feel that their electoral fortunes have turned, that tension is seemingly now gone. In the last two weeks, unabashed Republicans have started revealing the details of their governing agenda — one that will be familiar to those who were alive between 1994 and 2006, and which remains broadly unpopular with voters.

In the words of Mitch McConnell, Republicans feel like they’ve gotten their groove back. After the jump we run through the top 5 Republican retro-grooves we expect they’ll be playing throughout the August recess.

1. Limit Social Security: Late last month, House Majority Leader John Boehner called for Social Security to be means tested — i.e., limited to those with limited resources — and for the retirement age to be raised to 70. On the latter point, he has the support of some leading Democrats.

2. Cut Taxes For The Rich: It is the near-unanimous position of the Republican party, according to GOP leaders, that Bush-era tax cuts that benefit the rich should be extended, without being paid for by spending cuts or tax increases in other areas — even as they deny unemployment benefits on the grounds that they cost too much. The tax cuts cost almost $700 billion; the unemployment benefits about five percent of that. Some Republicans say tax cuts ought not be paid for because that puts downward pressure on the size of government. Others say, against all evidence, that tax cuts raise revenue.

3. Don’t Regulate Wall Street: Yesterday, Boehner added another item to his list of Democratic initiatives he says Republicans would fight to reverse. This one, though, is much more popular than health care reform. Boehner says just-passed rules meant to reign in Wall Street “ought to be repealed.”

4. Limit Corporate Governance: In their pursuit of a complete agenda, Republicans are fielding suggestions from their base voters. But for the most part, they’re listening to some of the most conservative interest groups in Washington, who are calling for lower corporate taxes, and gutting regulation.

5. Stop Federal Regulations: Just how do we know that the GOP is giving deference to their corporate interests? Because minutes after he met with the very lobbyists and trade representatives who publicly asked for less regulation, Boehner came out and called for a moratorium on new federal regulations. As Speaker Pelosi points out, this would put babies at risk. But more than that, as David Kurtz explains, it would strangle recently passed health care and financial reform legislation, and essentially bring the government to a halt.

 All before our very eyes.