Monday, October 29, 2012

Corrections Corporation of America Engages in a Cloak and Dagger Campaign for the Mitt Romney Presidential Campaign

This is Part One in a new series on Corrections Corporation of America and politics. In the next part we will focus on Mitt Romney's campaign in even more detail.

Recently Corrections Corporation of America wrote an internal news story called "Presidents, Politics and Partnership Corrections" directed at and made available to all Corrections Corporation of America employees through it's own "Inside CCA" internal propaganda machine. To the 270 View this story appears to serve the sole purpose of attempting to manipulate or prod Corrections Corporation of America employees into voting for the Republican ticket in the upcoming presidential election. The 270 View decided to examine the Corrections Corporation of America story and look into a few of CCA's possibly less than truthful statements.

In the internally produced Corrections Corporation of America article CCA employee Bart Verhulst (Vice President of Federal Partnership Relations) states "We are non-partisan as an organization and do not wish to influence the choices of our voting employees." This is possibly the biggest misstatement in the whole Corrections Corporation of America posting. The way The 270 View reads that statement is that Corrections Corporation of America intentionally made a very deceptive claim to not be telling employees how to vote and then goes on later in the article to tell employees to vote for a specific political party. If Corrections Corporation of America is not trying to steer CCA employees into voting a specific way then what would be the purpose of this story? Mr. Verhulst's claim that Corrections Corporation of America is non-partisan would also appear to be very questionable if not an outright misstatement. According to OpenSecrets.Org in 2012 Corrections Corporation of America's Political Action Committee funding to federal candidates was broken down to only 18% of CCA's political funding going to Democratic political candidates while 82% of CCA's political action committee spending went to Republican political candidates. That hardly seems non-partisan to us.

The Corrections Corporation of America produced story goes on to get into how campaign themes on the role of government in businesses could directly relate to Corrections Corporation of America and CCA employees. Jeremy Wiley Corrections Corporation of America's Managing Director of Federal Partnership Relations states in the article that "Republicans and Democrats tend to be on opposite sides of this specific issue. If someone believes that a larger government better serves Americans, then as it relates to corrections, they may believe that only government should own and operate correctional facilities. If someone believes government should play a smaller role, then they may support companies like CCA and our ability to provide the same service as government, but at a lower cost to taxpayers. When candidates are talking about the role or size of government, that’s how it could relate to CCA." This appears to be the tipping point of the story in which Corrections Corporation of America basically dispenses with cloak and dagger subterfuge and the use of political buzzwords and comes out and finally says vote Republican.

The problem with Corrections Corporation of America's argument that CCA employees should be in favor of small government to preserve Corrections Corporation of America's own place in the business sector of privatized corrections is also the same reasoning that has led CCA's employees into sub par paying jobs in privatized corrections. It's not really a secret that many corrections jobs in state or federal prison systems pay much more than privatized corrections jobs. One could argue that the need to line investors and corporate officers pockets with millions of dollars in profits is the same rational that leads to Corrections Corporation of America employees having to go several years without raises and also having benefits that often are not comparable to state and federal correction workers benefit packages. The fact of the matter is there is only so much money to go around. When a disproportionate amount of salaries goes to the people at the top and then you shave millions of dollars off for investors, lobbying, political campaign donations and things like luxurious high priced corporate offices then perhaps the pay rate of employees in privatized corrections businesses like Corrections Corporation of American can only suffer. It's just a natural consequence of small government employing big business at the cost of American workers salaries and benefits. The fact that low paid Corrections Corporation of America corrctional staff have to work twenty-four hours a day for seven days a week to enable these dollars to be earned and driven to the top does not even factor into employees being paid a decent wage in many Corrections Corporation of America facilities. Perhaps this is what Corrections Corporation of America employees should be thinking about on election day.

All opinions and allegations expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own decision.