Corrections Corp. of America Pours Money into Idaho Republican Coffers

Welcome to The Hump Day 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 is the second in a two-part piece on the history of the State of Idaho’s contracting with private prison corporations.

Last week we reported that Idaho, despite a long run of horror stories and lawsuits involving private prison corporations, continues to contract with private prison companies like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).   CCA operates the Idaho Correctional Center, a facility with the reputation so violent that it has earned the nickname “Gladiator School” from people incarcerated there.

This week, we will explore a possible explanation for Idaho's continued contracts with private prison corporations in Idaho - campaign contributions to influential politicians in the state.  According to data from InfluenceExplorer.comCorrections Corporation of America has donated more than $119,000 in campaign contributions to Idaho politicians since 2002.   GEO Group donated another $14,400 in just two election cycles - 2006 and 2008.  See who has profitted the most from this lobbying money after the jump.

Perhaps no Idaho politician has received more support from the private prison industry than governor Butch Otter, who appoints the leadership of the Idaho Department of Corrections.  Otter has received campaign contributions of at least $19,000 from CCA and $5,000 from GEO Group since 2006.  CCA also gave $5,000 to the Idaho Republican Party.

At least 11 state legislators received more than $2,000 of Corrections Corporation of America campaign donations since 2002:

  • Republican Sen. Dean Cameron ($3,250)
  • Republican Sen. Patti Anne Lodge ($3,250)
  • Republican Sen. Shawna Keough ($2,800)
  • Republican Rep. Mike Moyle ($2,650)
  • Republican Sen. Brad Little ($2,500)
  • Republican Rep. Maxine Bell ($2,300)
  • Republican Rep. Darrell Bolz ($2,400)
  • Republican Sen. Denton Darrington ($2,300)
  • Republican Sen. Gerry Sweet ($2,250)
  • Republican Rep. Scott Bedke ($2,150)
  • Republican Rep. Cliff Bayer ($2,050)

A number of other Idaho legislators received between $1,000-$2,000 during this time period:

  • Republican Rep. George Eskridge ($1,900)
  • Republican Sen. Russell Fulcher ($1,800)
  • Republican Sen. John McGee ($1,800)
  • Republican Rep. Dick Harwood ($1,750)
  • Republican Sen. Bart Davis ($1,550)
  • Republican Sen. Joe Stegner ($1,500)
  • Republican Represenative Lawerence Denney ($1,500)
  • Republican Rep. Julie Ellsworth ($1,450)
  • Republican Rep. James Clark ($1,450)
  • Republican Rep. Frank Henderson ($1,450)
  • Republican Sen. Monty Pearce ($1,300)
  • Republican Rep. Lee Gagner ($1,250)
  • Republican Sen. Robert Geddes ($1,250)
  • Republican Rep. Kathy Skippen ($1,200)
  • Republican Sen. Jim Hammond ($1,000)
  • Republican Rep. Wayne Meyer ($1,000)
  • Republican Rep. Joe Wood ($1,000)
  • Republican Rep. Janice McGeachin ($1,000)
  • Republican Sen. Skip Brandt ($1,000)
  • Republican Sen. Joyce Broadsword ($1,000)