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Why is Greg Gianforte Investing in the Private Prison Industry Separating Families?

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I suppose it’s only fitting that Greg Gianforte, the kind of politician who assaults a reporter for asking a question, would profit from the inhumane policy of family separation the Trump Administration has put in place. Alex Kotch reports that, just as the Trump Administration ratcheted up its policy of separating children from their parents and placing them in detention, Gianforte bought as much as $250,000 in stock from CoreCivic, the private prison firm that has benefited immensely under the Trump Administration.

From the article:

The second-richest member of Congress made a six-figure purchase earlier this year of stock in a major private prison company that’s profiting handsomely from increased immigrant detention under Trump administration policy, federal records show.

Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Montana) bought between $100,001 and $250,000 worth of CoreCivic stock on Jan. 29, according to a transaction report reviewed by TYT.

As the article notes, business is booming for CoreCivic, who had their largest year of federal contracts in 2017 and they are on place to surpass that this year.  Gianforte, not content to just make a personal profit from the prison industry, also took a $1,000 donation from Core Civic’s political action committee.

The private prison industry is not the kind of business an ethical investor would put his money even, even if they weren’t involved in the separation of families. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the Department of Justice found that private prisons were more dangerous than public facilities and planned to phase out its contracts until Donald Trump came along to rescue them:

Private prison operators took a hit in 2016 when the Justice Department’s inspector general found that private prisons were more dangerous than government-run facilities, prompting the agency to announce it would begin phasing out contracts for federal prisons, though not for ICE detention centers. The companies disputed the report’s findings.
The Trump administration revoked the plan to cut private prison use.

As the Journal hints at, there is a clear quid pro quo between private prison companies and the Trump Administration: the former donated lavishly to Trump and the latter is doing his level best to fill beds to boost their bottom line, despite clear instances of abuse.

No one can argue with Mr. Gianforte’s right to make a buck, but it does seem reasonable to ask if he doesn’t perhaps have enough money already that he can choose not to invest in the private prison industry, especially as it sees its fortunes rise because of inhumane abuse of migrant families.

Did Mr. Gianforte invest in Core Civic because he doesn’t care about the ethics of the companies he invests in or does he agree with this one? Sure seems fair to ask.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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