Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Pennsylvania Councilman Takes Private Prison Company’s Donation, then Opposes Detention Center

A $3,000 campaign contribution from private prison firm GEO Group has put a spotlight on a county councilman in Pennsylvania. The contribution was made only days after Ron Angle, president of the Northampton County Council, urged his colleagues to explore a proposal from GEO in October 2010.

GEO Group proposed that Northampton County seek a contract with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) to house immigration detainees. The detention contract would be farmed out to GEO.

Angle and other supporters of the project touted it as a way to bring jobs to the area and increase tax revenue for the Bangor Area School District without adding new students. GEO’s donation to Angle came after the County Council authorized County Executive John Stoffa to act quickly in exploring the company’s proposal.

“They didn’t buy any influence,” Angle said of the contribution from GEO’s political action committee. “They bought my disinfluence.” Angle said he spent $650 of GEO Group’s donation to poll residents about their opinion on building the detention center on a 128-acre site in their community.

Local residents did not see a GEO-run facility as being a good neighbor. Based on that response, Angle urged the County Council in November 2010 to nix any action on the company’s proposal. Stoffa rescinded his talks with ICE, and Essex County, New Jersey is reportedly in the process of getting the immigration detention contract.

GEO’s donation to Angle, part of less than $5,000 he raised during that contribution reporting period, was properly listed in a report to the state. Angle, who is up for reelection, said he informed GEO representatives he would not support the detention center project if residents did not support it. He was the only councilman to receive a donation from the company.

Sources:,, The Morning Call

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login