The foregoing entities with links provided, are funded, founded or supported with Koch money. They do the bidding of Koch regarding dispersing EPA and climate disinformation to the public, promoting the Koch and ALEC agendas. Much of the efforts of ALEC is centered around Criminal Justice in the U.S. Creation of harsh drug and other criminal justice laws were the springboard that launched ALEC into the limelight back in 1980-85 under the Reagan Administration. They have relied upon crime and related issues for more than a quarter century now as a basis for acquiring money, power and influence for pursuing other important initiatives profitable to corporate interests. Here is a link to true and factual reporting on the issue of privatization and provides accurate data and links to information in opposition to the facts Conservatives are "spinning".
I write most often about the prison and prison industry issues as that's where my research has been centered for almost 8 years and counting. These are the subjects that led me to ALEC and the Koch brothers in the first place. I have found that the two main issues that provided ALEC and their members with the most money, influence and control over society are prison industries and prison privatization. Both involve big money, profits and ever greater control over society. Considering that today, corrections and prison budgets are the number two or three expenditure of tax dollars in every fiscal year, we can easily see that it is in fact a cash cow for "someone".
With the results of the 2010 election cycle returning or transferring majorities to many state assemblies and Governor's office, ALEC and organizations such as the Republican Governor's Association and Conservatives have determined the time is right to take on public sector wages and Unions. Today we see this literally from coast to coast. High on their agenda is privatization of more prisons and corrections related duties.
In Florida citizens now find themselves under the leadership of a Governor with a past that includes defrauding the U.S. government through the Medicare program. Rick Scott did not miss a beat as he transitioned from being a private company CEO with a reputation of his company paying the largest Medicare fraud penalty in U.S. history, to governing a state with a huge population of seniors who are dependent upon their Medicare and Social Security to keep them healthy and able to live from month to month. In addition this population of elderly also depend upon Scott to protect them from crime and to do it in a cost efficient manner.
Rick Scott's answer to the problems of those older citizens depending upon him, is to join other Conservatives wanting to privatize Medicare or put the program under a "voucher system". He and the others would love to do the same thing to Social Security as well, but that isn't going to be as easy as Medicare an repealing the healthcare reforms put in place under President Obama.
Scott's answer to making these senior citizens safer? More privatization of the state's prison system. There are already several prison in Florida now that are privately run by Geo Group (Boca Raton, FL. based), Corrections Corporation of America, Inc. and Management Training Corporation. Republican controlled House and Senate in Florida just cleared the way for Scott's plan to privatize corrections in 18 Florida counties:
"State workers will face more competition from private companies, with lawmakers allowing the Department of Corrections to expand the use of private firms to provide health care for inmates and to run some or all the prison facilities in an 18-county region stretching from Manatee County south to the Florida Keys."
In fact, taking a look at the Florida legislation that passed and the ones that failed, the Conservative agenda nationwide is reflected in this article
The issue of more privatization of corrections is of the utmost importance - and under the radar of most of society. Prison privatization and expanding prison industry in the U.S. really does serve as the Conservative ATM for corporations and lawmakers alike. Consider that Kasich in Ohio is pushing to privatize 5 more state prisons. His appointment of Mohr as Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction provided all of us with an early warning as to Kasich's intentions regarding privatization. Mohr was a long time CCA Executive:
"Mohr is a former consultant and managing director for Corrections Corporation of America, a Nashville-based company that is eligible to bid on the state prison contracts once they are made available next month.
"The company, which bills itself the leading private-sector provider of corrections services to governments, also hired Kasich's former congressional chief of staff, Donald Thibaut, as a lobbyist in January."
This relationship between Kasich, Mohr and the hiring of Thibaut by CCA clearly shows an intention of privatization. It also demonstrates that this is not a hastily put together agenda - rather it is well thought out, coordinated and intended to benefit CCA.
Maine is now pushing for legislation to also privatize one or more state prisons - an effort that previously failed time and again under Democratic leadership. In addition, Governor LePage also likes the idea of sending state inmates to other states to be housed in privately run facilities. Surprise, surprise! LePage is also the first Governor to push for repeal or amending the state's child labor laws - allowing kids to work more hours per week, until 11:00 pm on school nights and paying them far under the minimum wage ($5.25 per hour for anyone 20 years old or younger).
Michigan is also on the cusp of privatizing prisons, while Arizona continues to push for legislation that would allow Governor Brewer to privatize the entire state's prison system. Wisconsin wants to privatize jail facilities as does some Republicans in Nebraska and Minnesota. All of these efforts use studies put out by Koch funded "Think Tanks" and reports compiled by the National Institute of Justice and related agencies as indicating that privatization reduces taxpayer costs for incarceration and reduces recidivism and are relied upon heavily by CCA. This, my friend is all bullshit. The information, statistics and formula's used by these "experts" are all skewed, as many of my diaries have shown, by providing accurate data from independent sources. Many of the reports put together by the government are compiled by those with an interest in private prison operations. This was shown quite clearly in a study performed by ABT Associates in 1998. Their report titled; "Private Adult Correctional Facility Census, 1997 included information, statistics and the opinion of Charles W. Thomas, Professor of Criminology at the University of Florida, Gainesville. This report was touted by everyone associated with favoring privatization as proof positive that privatizing prisons saved money and reduced recidivism. As the link above demonstrates, this is still advertised and available from the Heartland Institute, a Koch funded and supported "Institute". This was published in 1997 as state and federal government authorities were trying to determine the impact - if any - upon society by privatization of prisons. It was passed around and labeled as THE definitive study showing privatization was successful and should be expanded in states such as Nevada, Alabamarelied upon by secondary researchers.
Professor Thomas also compiled a study for Arizona, "Comparing the Cost and Performance of Public and Private
Prisons in Arizona" (of course) that lauded privatization, but a later study of his report showed the figures and assumptions put forth by Thomas were skewed somewhat. Later, it was discovered that the reports submitted by Professor Thomas involved serious bias when it was discovered he stood to personally profit from privatization of prisons. Thomas sat upon Prison Realty Trust, a spin-off of Corrections Corporation of America and once that became known he was fined $20,000.00 by the Florida Commission on Ethics and resigned his tenure. Of course, CCA didn't let Thomas' efforts of manipulating data to their benefit go unrewarded. Once he resigned amid the disgrace of using his position to feather his nest with phony data, CCA hired him as a full time "Consultant". In that capacity he continues his efforts of lying to the public about privatization. HereThomas is described as "retired" in a footnote on an article again quoting him in support of privatization issues, spreading the same bullshit:
"Charles W. Thomas received his B.S. degree from McMurry University in 1966 and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Kentucky in, respectively, 1969 and 1971. Recently retired from his position as a Professor of Criminology at the University of Florida, Dr. Thomas is a consultant to the Corrections Corporation of America and a member of the Board of Directors of Prison Realty Trust."
As in most cases when one of those enabling ALEC, Koch and others regarding the spread of disinformation are outed, they are rewarded with positions within one or more of those corporations they've enabled. This issue of privatized prison and prison industries are closely related, linked and of utmost importance to ALEC, the Kochs, the National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA), CCA and Geo Group. As the above paragraphs indicate, the Heartland Institute is connected to Koch and supports CCA and offers the teachings of Dr. Thomas to the public - even after his work has been discredited due to his personal conflicts and profiting from his skewed findings. Let's look at one person at the center of all of it, with documented connections.
As I wrote previously, Texas Representative Ray Allen (R) attended and spoke at the 1998 Innovative Strategies for Prison Industries and Policies and Programs In Prison Industries. He was lauding the use of inmates in private manufacturing and privatizing of prisons at that meeting. Following this meeting, the PIECP program exploded and many corporations began partnering with the prison program to gain access to and use inmate labor as a cheap and economical labor force.
. What most watching the video are unaware of is, Allen was not only a Texas Representative, he was also an ALEC member:
“Task Force Meeting (2001 States and Nation Policy Summit)
Washington, DC December 15, 2001 –
“The task force met in conjunction with the 2001 States and Nation Policy Summit. In addition to hearing reports from several subcommittees, task force members…and from Texas state Representative Ray Allen on Prison Industry Enhancement programs that allow inmates to work for private businesses in order to pay for a large part of their incarceration costs.”
Additionally, Allen was involved in the 1993 legislation that allowed tax credits for private corporations to encourage them to use prison industries for their labor. This is related to the 1999 incident involving the closure of LTI’s Austin, Texas manufacturing operation and moving it into Geo Group’s Lockhart, Texas private prison industry facility, displacing nearly one hundred civilian workers
In 2002 he again spoke at an ALEC event on prison issues:
"Task Force Meeting (2002 States & Nation Policy Summit)
Washington, DC December 14, 2002 –
“Texas State Representative Ray Allen discussed a project the Prisons Subcommittee will be working on to compose model legislation that incorporates Best Practices within state correctional facilities."
If we move forward to 2003 we find a report about legislation involving “Eco-Terrorism” proposed by Representative Allen – who by then was the Chairman of ALEC’s Criminal Justice Task Force:
“New York, animal rights organizations such as PETA face a bill that would increase penalties for trespassing that occurs while documenting animal abuse on private property. In Texas, House Bill 433 was introduced in March by Republican state representative Ray Allen. Allen is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a Washington-based association of 200-plus conservative state lawmakers and hundreds of business leaders committed to elevating states rights, property rights, and free enterprise above environmental protection."
“Allen’s bill was based on model legislation promoted last December by ALEC’s Criminal Justice Task Force, which he chairs.”
Also in 2003, Allen was again in the news as Chairman of the Texas’ House Corrections Committee. In that capacity it was discovered Allen was lobbying on behalf of the NCIA. Suddenly the connections between ALEC, the use of prison industry by corporations and links to the organization that controls (PIECP) and, has a membership comprised of every state prison industry in the U.S. merged. This merger did not just involve Allen, the NCIA and ALEC…it also linked him to campaign contributions from Corrections Corporations of America with ties to both the NCIA and membership in ALEC:
The 'Big House' Hits the Statehouse
"Rep. Ray Allen likes to mix state business with his private business.
With his legislative chief of staff, Scott Gilmore, Allen operates Service House, Inc. The sole lobby client that this firm services is the National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA), a trade group promoting prison-labor programs. Its members include the private prison companies Wackenhut and the Corrections Corp. of America.
These same prison companies would appear to benefit from bills that Allen authored to expand prison privatization in Texas and to ease regulation of this industry. Allen’s HB 1669, which would repeal a legal cap on the number of state prison beds that can be contracted out to private contractors.
To comply with state ethics laws, Gilmore told the Observer that Service House just lobbies Congress and officials in other states. Yet Allen’s privatization bill--which he failed to pass out of his own committee — apparently, needs a lot of local lobby muscle. Three out-of-state prison firms are paying 16 lobbyists up to $530,000 this year to lobby the state of Texas.
Hoosegow who’s who
The hired guns working Texas’ prison lobby include heavy hitters, led by W. James Jonas. Jonas’ Loeffler Jonas & Tuggey, which hired two state lawmakers who have been accused of illegally lobbying the Texas Health Department to weaken regulations of dangerous ephedrine diet products (see “Unsafe On Any Speed,” Lobby WatchOctober 21, 2002). The $3,000 Rep. Allen received from this firm made it his No. 3 campaign donor in the 2002 election cycle.
Texas Lock-Up Lobby
Prison Company Max. Value of Contracts Min. Value of Contracts No. of Contracts
*(CCA) of TN $260,000 $125,000 6
*Wackenhut Corrections Corp. $210,000 $100,000 7
Correctional Services Corp. $60,000 $20,000 3
TOTAL: $530,000 $245,000 16
Working on the Prison Lobby Chain Gang
Lobbyist Client Max. Value of Contract Min. Value of Contract
Demetrius McDaniel CCA $100,000 $50,000
Lara Laneri Keel CCA $50,000 $25,000
Bill Messer CCA $50,000 $25,000
Ellen Williams CCA $50,000 $25,000
Helen Gonzalez CCA $10,000 $0
Laurie Shanblum CCA $0 $0
Andrea McWilliams CSC $25,000 $10,000
Dean R. McWilliams CSC $25,000 $10,000
Jim Terrell CSC $10,000 $0
W. James Jonas III WCC $150,000 $100,000
Allen Penn Beinke WCC $10,000 $0
Robert H. Finney WCC $10,000 $0
Lisa Mayes WCC $10,000 $0
Noe Rangel WCC $10,000 $0
Jonathan Snare WCC $10,000 $0
Murray Van Eman WCC $10,000 $0
TOTALS: $530,000 $245,000
In the 2002 election cycle current Texas officials received $42,500 from the founder and a director of Nashville-based Corrections Corp. of America (CCA), which is a member of the trade group that employs Rep. Allen. Donor Thomas Beasley is CCA’s founder and a former chair of the Tennessee Republican Party. Donor Henri Wedell sits on CCA’s board and owns more than $10 million in company stock. Apart from the Republican leadership, most of these CCA donors’ favorite Texas politicos chair strategic committees.
Top Recipients of CCA Contributions
Recipient Amount Notable Committees
Gov. Rick Perry $10,000
Speaker Tom Craddick $5,000
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst $5,000
A.G. Greg Abbott $2,500
Rep. Ray Allen $1,500 Corrections (Chair)
Rep. Talmadge Heflin $1,500 Appropriations (Chair)
Rep. Mike Krusee $1,500
Sen. Steve Ogden $1,500 Criminal Justice
Sen. John Whitmire $1,500 Criminal Justice (Chair)
In 2004 Allen was involved in political maneuvering in Texas under Governor Perry again involving privatization of Texas prisoners. By then, Allen had a huge amount of influence in Texas politics. Allen appeared to partner with the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Mike Toomey in an attempt to get the Criminal Justice Policy Council to “fudge” the numbers the Council had come up with involving privatizing 21 Texas jail facilities. When they couldn’t get the head of the CJPC to go along, the Governor simply cut all funding for the program, firing the CJPC head, Tony Fabello:
“What has emerged after Fabelo's dismissal last summer are details of a plan by the state's leadership both to save money (in theory) and follow their ideological instincts by allowing private business to operate a larger hunk of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the state's 148,000-inmate prison system. This move would, incidentally, give a lot of business to politically connected private companies.
Apparently Tony Fabelo and his calculator were in the way.
Fabelo, now working as a national consultant on prison issues, has refused all comment on his dismissal. According to someone at the Capitol in a position to know, however, Fabelo was called into the governor's office in March of last year and asked to "cook the books" – that is, soften the anticipated consequences – regarding the governor's edict to cut 14% of the corrections budget. Fabelo refused to change his analysis, and told the Legislature that the Perry cuts would have long-term ill consequences for the prison system.
That was one strike.
Then came privatization. At the beginning of last year's financially challenged session, Rep. Ray Allen, R-Grand Prairie, chairman of the Corrections Committee, introduced HB 1669, which would have allowed the TDCJ to further privatize 21 state jails, used for less dangerous offenders and home to a total of about 11,000 inmates. At the time, five jails were already operated by private companies. The move to take the next step and hand over management of the other 16 had been prompted in part by an analysis by Austin GOP Rep. Jack Stick, a member of Corrections and author of his own privatization bill. Former prosecutor Stick suggested that the state might show significant savings by putting more state jail contracts out to bid.
Fabelo's agency studied the issue and concluded that the state would save 3% to 4% of its costs by privatization. Unfortunately, Allen's bill had set the threshold for privatization at 5% savings (slashed from the previous standard of 10%). Fabelo's estimate was too low to warrant doing what state leadership apparently desired. That gave him two strikes – apparently all you get at Rick Perry's Capitol.
The Capitol presumption is that the real heavy in the aftermath of HB 1669 was Perry's chief of staff, Toomey, also a former lobbyist for the Corrections Corporation of America – then managing one state jail and with plenty to gain from further privatization."
Finally once we move forward in time to April of 2005 and find that this relationship between Representative Allen and the NCIA caused ascandal in Texas that eventually resulted in Allen's resignation on January 20th, 2006
"Ray Allen Investigated for Illegal Use of Staff
“…Mr. Allen said he lobbies for the National Correctional Industries Association only in Washington. The association promotes programs that allow private companies to use inmate labor.
“Mr. Allen ran Service House, his lobby practice, with his former chief of staff, Scott Gilmore. Mr. Gilmore quit working for Mr. Allen in December and has formed his own lobbying practice in Austin. [...]
“Mr. Gilmore said Mr. Allen's employees were aware they could not mix public affairs with private business.
"The policy was, you don't use state computers," he said.
“On one occasion, however, an aide stored a letter involving his lobbying client on her state computer. That aide also sent an e-mail on the state computer network that described a "to-do" list, mostly devoted to Service House business, the Star-Telegram story said."
Just recently in 2011, I came across what serves as Ray Allen’s political Bio. I found it at a site titled; “Texas Probation Association." Here is the short description of what Allen did when in office, the Chairs he held and committees he sat upon:
Meet TPA's Lobbyist--Ray Allen
Hon. Ray Allen
"Former State Representative Ray Allen was first elected to the Texas House Of Representatives in 1992, and served seven terms, retiring in January, 2006. During his tenure he served as the Chairman of the House Committee on Corrections, Chairman of the County Affairs Committee, was a member of the House Committee on Government Reform, the House Appropriations Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Select Interim Committee on Sex Offender Statutes, Vice-Chairman of the Environmental Regulations Committee, the Committee on House Administration, Select Committee on Constitutional Revision, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, and the House Public Safety Committee. He chaired numerous Subcommittees, focusing on issues related to criminal justice, corrections reform, and the environment, and Chaired the Texas Legislature Sportsmen’s Caucus from 2002 through 2006.
"Representative Allen, widely regarded as one of the most prolific and effective House members in passing legislation, authored or jointly authored nearly 400 bills of which more than 150 are now in law. Many of his successful bills were designated as major state laws by independent Senate and House Research Organizations. Those efforts covered a broad range of topics including criminal statutes, child protection and safety, sex offenders, private sector prison industries, crime-victims’ rights laws, Texas’ Concealed Carry law, the Texas Clean Air Act of 1999, and numerous measures regarding local and economic development issues.
"Upon leaving elected office in 2006, he founded Service House, Inc., a Government Affairs firm which served a wide variety of clients prior to the formation of GovBiz Partners, LLC."
Of course, as I learned from other articles, Allen formed Service House, Inc. prior to leaving office and in fact was the reason he no longer serves as a Texas House Representative, having used his position and office to lobby for the NCIA. The wording of this press statement also fails to inform that Allen resigned his position due to improper behavior while serving the people of Texas. Instead it provides that Allen “Retired
.” As this website openly states, the former House member is now representing the Texas Probation Association as a lobbyist under his new flag, GovBizPartners with an advertising slogan of: “Your One-Stop-Shop for Texas Government.
” Allen now lobbies at the state level on behalf of the Texas Probation Association and advocates probation instead of Incarceration:
"Both Adult and Juvenile Probation save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars when compared with the cost to incarcerate all offenders—adult probation is 1/25th the amount of prison beds;
Probation is by far the most cost effective way to deal with the hundreds of thousands of almost exclusively non-violent offenders; and, recent reforms strengthening probation have proven to be effective in protecting the public and reducing future crimes.
As with Professor Thomas, once removed or forced to resign for corruption, Allen and his cronies put the "spin" down and forever after claim retirement as a reason for leaving their previous posts. Lies and more lies intended to misinform everyone and thereby keep the truth off of the front page. Of course, you didn't see any of these stories in the national media, did you? Nope, they've been bought and paid for by the likes of the Koch, De Vos and Scaife families and their foundations.
So there in a nutshell we see the connections and links between Koch, ALEC, CCA, the NCIA and prison privatization and industries - all wrapped up in one "neat" little ball of political corruption. Unfortunately Ray Allen was but one of 2.400 legislative members of ALEC. How many other Ray Allen's are there out there today, doing the same work for ALEC on criminal justice, telecom, healthcare and a myriad assortment of their other "initiatives"? Too damn many I fear.
You may ask why are the issues of privatization and prison industry under the PIECPprogram so important? It is because ALEC and the others mentioned in this diary are using that program to steal your jobs. One by one and sometimes by the hundreds, they are taking jobs from the civilian sector and putting them in the hands of state prisoners in 43 state operated prison industries running hundreds of manufacturing and industrial factories across this nation. They are working hundreds of thousands of these inmates, paying them near slave wages, providing no benefits or relief and earning huge profits from it. All of this is the purpose of ALEC's Prison Industries Act, proposed by them in their Model Legislation. You'll simply have to take my word for it...cause ALEC isn't about to let you, me or anyone that isn't a member have access to the actual wording of that initiative. I think I've adequately shown from the foregoing just what is contained in that legislation and why it is so important to all of us to stop...before the rest of our jobs are gone
You've seen the ongoing actions in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey and many more states led by Conservative Republicans funded by ALEC, Koch and the others to suppress wages, eliminate Unions, collective bargaining and to replace public workers with prison labor. Now you know the why...and the how...