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GEO Group Ends Florida PAC

An audit by the Florida Department of State found that the GEO Group, Inc., the nation’s second-largest private prison company, had been violating Florida law by making contributions to politicians from GEO’s Political Action Committee (PAC) in excess of the $500 limit.

In a letter to state election officials, GEO said it was operating as a federal committee and was not aware that by filing reports with state agencies it was bound by Florida contribution limits, which are lower than those allowed under federal law.

GEO Group disbanded its state-level PAC on May 18, 2011, but not before it had disbursed contributions to a number of Florida politicians. The PAC gave $500 to state Rep. Eseban Bovo’s successful bid to become a Miami-Dade Commissioner. It also gave $2,500 to Republican congressman Ander Crenshaw’s reelection campaign, but that donation was returned.

In the first quarter of 2011, the PAC gave money to U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and the U.S. Senate campaign committee of current Florida state Senate President Mike Haridopolos. Reports from GEO’s PAC also show contributions to politicians around the country, including Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

Such donations to lawmakers do not go unrewarded – see this issue’s cover story for the political payback that com-anies like GEO expect, and receive, in exchange for their generosity.

Source: Florida Independent

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