Humpday Hall of Shame: Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Welcome to the Humpday Hall of Shame: every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

This week we induct Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the powerful Democratic Congresswoman from Florida and chair of the Democratic National Committee for her support of a new Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) immigrant detention center in south Florida.

Corrections Corporation of America has done their part to win Congresswoman Wasserman Shultz's support, donating $1,000 to her campaign in April of this year.  Wasserman Schultz has received at least $7,250 in private prison donations since 1998, according to data accessed at TransparancyData.org and analyzed by Grassroots Leadership.

Evidently, CCA's influence trumps the concerns and objections of local residents and immigrant rights organizations.  According to a recent Florida Independent article:

"Wasserman Schultz said on Florida’s First News that she helped create a citizen’s advisory council for residents of Southwest Ranches and Pembroke Pines to “give them input and feedback on what they think needs to be addressed.”

She added that the immigration detention facility “is the minimum impact that could be built there right now,” saying “there are lot worse impacts that could be built there right now, without any approvals at all.”

“I think it is going to be far better to have that ICE detention center there than to have any other facility that would have a much more negative impact on residents there,” Wasserman Schultz said."

Seems money from for-profit prison developers sways legislators in both parties, even those who have been supporters of comprehensive immigration reform.

Wasserman Schultz's acceptance of private prison corporation money and her support of the new Corrections Corporation of America detention center clearly illustrate that for-profit incarceration influence is a bi-partisan issue.  In the 2012 election year, let's ask every candidate -- Republican, Democratic or third party -- two simple questions:  "Do you support for profit incarceration, either private prisons or detention centers?"  and "Have you ever accepted funds from the private prison industry?"