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Congressional Black Caucus PAC Urged to Cut Ties with Private Prison Lobbyists

The Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee (CBC PAC) says that it works to increase the number of African-Americans in the U.S. Congress, support non-black candidates who champion black interests, and promote African American participation in the political process.

However, Color of Change (CoC), the nation’s largest online civil rights organization, has accused the Caucus of not working in the best interests of the black community. CoC launched a national campaign in April 2016 to urge the CBC PAC to stop accepting funding from lobbyists that advocate for private prisons, arguing that private prison companies target African-Americans to reap corporate profits.

Research has found that privately-operated prisons house a disproportionate number of minorities that is even greater than the disparity in public prisons. [See: PLN, March 2014, p.20; March 2013, p.16].

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group – the two largest for-profit prison firms in the U.S. – have donated millions of dollars to political candidates and spent millions more lobbying government agencies.

“Ironically, both Democratic presidential candidates have shunned contributions from private prison lobbyists but the CBC PAC has taken thousands of dollars from Akin Gump, the lobbying firm that makes millions lobbying to protect their private prison client, Corrections Corporation of America, from increased regulation and transparency,” CoC stated.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP is an international law firm based in Washington, D.C. Its employees include a who’s who of former presidential advisors, governors, cabinet officials and Congressmen, and the company is one of CCA’s registered lobbyists. Akin Gump gave $8,750 to the CBC PAC during the 2016 election cycle.

Color of Change also argues that some CBC PAC board members represent corporate interests that are adverse to the black community. “The lobbyists and corporate funders wielding influence over the CBC PAC represent the worst of the worst,” CoC wrote in an email to its supporters. The organization has called for the CBC PAC to reorganize its board to eliminate members who have ties to harmful corporate interests – including companies connected to addictive pharmaceuticals, tobacco and gun sales.

Sources: http://flcourier.com, www.colorofchange.org


 

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