Arizona Lawmaker Slips $900K Into Budget For Private Prison Company

One of the world’s largest private prison corporations already has a $45 million contract with the state of Arizona. But without amending that contract with GEO Group, Inc., a lawmaker financially tied to the prison firm inserted almost another $1 million into the state budget for it.

The House approved the budget with the $900,000 allocation to GEO, a multinational corporation based in Boca Raton, Fla. Yet after a spate of phone calls and emails, the Senate Appropriations Committee removed the funding from its version of the bill, the Arizona Republic reports.

Rep. John Kavanagh (R), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, included extra funding in the budget despite no support from the state’s Department of Corrections, which contracts with GEO. Pivotal Policy Consulting, the lobbying firm that represents GEO, requested the favor. GEO is the top financial contributor for Kavanagh, whose past work includes championing racial profiling in Arizona and criminalizing transgender people.

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