Rick Scott and Private Prisons Engaging in "Pay to Play" Politics, Teamsters Complaint Alleges

Categories: Politics
Florida politicians received nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from two private prison corporations last election cycle -- GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America -- and an ethics complaint filed by the Teamsters union yesterday claims $30,000 of those contributions that went to Gov. Rick Scott may have influenced his decision to enter contracts between the companies and the state.

The Teamsters say Scott, as chairman of the State Board of Administration -- which is responsible for the state's retirement trust fund -- has an obligation to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries to the fund.

By signing the Senate's appropriations bill last legislative session that calls for contracts with private prisons in South Florida and mandates cuts over last year's corrections budget, the complaint says the governor cannot act in the best interest of the retirement fund while awarding a contract to the lowest bidder.

"The governor clearly has a conflict of interest with both CCA and GEO bidding to secure contracts for prison management," Teamsters International Vice President Ken Wood says in a statement. "The complaint cites that Governor Scott should have already put the Secretary of the Department of Correction on notice that GEO and CCA should not be permitted to bid on state contracts to run prisons."

The complaint alleges that Scott failed to take "remedial actions" to avoid violating the state ethics code and says the state's plan to enter private-prison contracts across South Florida worth hundreds of millions of dollars is a "tainted bidding process" that is "tantamount to 'pay to play' politics."

"The Governor has used his official position to secure a benefit for the GEO Group and the Corrections Corporation of America by affording both companies the ability to submit [a request for proposal] that is not in the best interest of the State, presuming the Governor adheres to his to duty to the Florida Retirement System Trust Fund," the complaint states. "This creates the appearance of an unfair advantage for both companies as well as the opportunity to secure a lucrative multi-year contract."

The Teamsters are calling for the bidding process for the prisons to be restarted,with the GEO Group and the Corrections Corporation of America excluded. If they don't stop the bidding process, the Teamsters ask that the two companies' bids be withdrawn.

"Using either GEO or CCA to manage prisons doesn't make sense either financially or ethically for the state," Wood says. "We are urging the ethics commission to take action in this matter and find that the governor violated his responsibilities to the people of the state of Florida."

The last time Scott was the subject of ethics complaints -- over his ownership of Solantic -- they were dropped.

Follow The Pulp on Facebook and on Twitter: @ThePulpBPB. Follow Matthew Hendley on Facebook and on Twitter: @MatthewHendley.

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What did they expect when Florida allowed the Medicare fraudster to run for governor?   This crook came into office expecting to use his office for his own financial gain and he has done so.  If the legislature wasn't almost as corrupt as Scott, the worm would have been impeached and removed from office & would be in prison where he belonged for the Medicare fraud.


Just ask the Sheriff's Dept. of Hernando County how well prison privatization works. After 22 years of operating the county jail, CCA was booted by the county; in the first year after the sheriff's dept. took over, over $1 million was saved, and of 177 CCA employees that applied to remain with the jail, only 45 were hired. The jail was in a state of horrendous disrepair, with roofs leaking to the point where one corridor was called "the canal".

Absolutely deplorable conditions. But I expect nothing less from our governor.


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