Humpday Hall of Shame: Mike Haridopolos, Part 2

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.

For the second week in a row, our Humpday Hall of Shame award goes to Florida State Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R – Merritt Island).  Haridolopos is a major proponent of an effort to cede control of 29 south Florida prisons to private prison corporations.  That effort, until this week, appeared to be sailing through the state legislature.  We reported last week that Haridopolos had received more than $67,000 in campaign contributions from private prison corporations since 2009.

However, this week, several state Senators (including many members of Haridopolos's Republican party) have bucked the idea of what would be the largest prison privatization in U.S. history.  They've objected to the proposal saying that prison privatization doesn't save money, can be dangerous for those incarcerated and working in prisons, and is ultimately is a payoff to for-profit prison companies who have made huge donations to politicians in Florida.

Instead of listening to his critics on both sides of the aisle, Haridopolos today fired Republican Senator Mike Fasano as chairman of the criminal justice budget subcommittee.  Fasano stood up for his beliefs, saying, according to the Tallahassee Democrat:

"No matter how big the bully in the schoolyard may be, if the loss of a chairmanship is the result of taking a stand for what is right, I wear that loss as a badge of honor. As the final days of the president’s tenure comes to a close I encourage him to stand up for taxpayers and consumers to ensure that each and every tax dollar is spent wisely. The special interests should not prevail."

We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Kudos to Senator Fasano for his integrity and courage.  And to Senator Haridopolos, well, shame on you!