December 29, 2013

Political Donations from Private-Prison Interests

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Over the past eight years, private-prison interests have spent at least $348,000 on Oklahoma political contributions and gifts, with Gov. Mary Fallin receiving the largest amount.

Those donations and gifts came from private-prison companies, their political-action committees and employees, and from lobbyists who reported their gifts, such as meals and entertainment, as being tied to private-prison clients, according to Oklahoma Ethics Commission reports.

Lobbyists made additional cash contributions, but because each lobbyist represents multiple clients, it’s hard to determine how much was given specifically for private-prison interests. If all of those contributions from the industry’s lobbyists were included, the total contributions and gifts would be $651,000 since 2006, records show.

Some highlights from donations in 2013:

• Four days before the start of the legislative session, Geo Group’s political action committee provided 11 checks to various legislators, including the House and Senate heads of the public safety committees, and one $5,000 contribution, the maximum, each to Senate Appropriations Committee chair Clark Jolley and House Speaker T.W. Shannon.

• In March, two donations to Fallin’s 2014 campaign are recorded: $4,000 from Corrections Corporation of America’s PAC on March 19, and $5,000 from the company’s lobbyist, Tammie Kilpatrick, on March 29.

• In September, Avalon Correctional Services’ CEO Don Smith gave $5,000 to Fallin’s campaign.

Fallin’s total contributions and gifts from private-prison companies, their employees and PACs, and from lobbyists from 2006 through Dec. 28, 2013, were $77,000. Nearly 60 percent, or $46,000, came from Avalon, Geo Group and Corrections Corporation of America to Fallin’s inaugural fund in late 2010. The biggest contributor to that fund was Avalon, which gave $26,000, one of the single largest contributions. Her inaugural fund received a total of nearly $1.4 million. Fallin’s campaign committee also received a $5,000 contribution from Corrections Corporation of America’s PAC in late 2009.

Private Prison-Related Political Donations

Below are the top 10 recipients of cash contributions and other gifts from private-prison companies, their political action committees and employees and from lobbyists, as reported to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission from 2006 through Dec. 28, 2013..
NameParty-PositionTotal GiftsContributions from Companies, PACs, Employees; Gifts from LobbyistsContributions from Lobbyists
Mary FallinR-Governor$90,500$77,000$13,500
T.W. ShannonR-House Speaker$33,979$31,729$2,250
Clark JolleyR-Senator$32,051$24,801$7,250
Ken MillerR-State Treasurer$24,395$11,145$13,250
Todd LambR-Lieutenant Governor$15,750$4,500$11,250
Dan NewberryR-Senator$10,272$7,022$3,250
Don BarringtonR-Senator$9,530$8,280$1,250
Todd ThomsenR-Representative$7,915$2,265$5,650
John DoakR-Insurance Commissioner$13,250$0$13,250
Rob JohnsonR-Senator$13,867$4,617$9,250