Clinton protested (again) over fundraising from private prisons

Hillary Clinton was disrupted at a Congressional Hispanic Caucus event yesterday over the money she is bundling from the private prison industry, marking the second time protestors have taken issue with this particular tactic of her campaign.

Juan Carlos Ramos, one of the protestors at the event, reportedly held up a sign reading “Hillary for immigrants in prisons” while chanting “Hillary we’re watching. My deportation will be your funding.”

Clinton did not address Ramos, and instead talked over him, to cheers from the audience:

Following the protest, United We Dream Action, the group Ramos is affiliated with, issued a statement reading, in part:

Our message to Hillary Clinton is simple: immigrant youth do not trust you. It is time to drop the prison money and stand with our community — you can’t have it both ways…Each dollar of private prison money accepted by the Clinton campaign undermines her pro-immigrant policy promises, and our community will not be fooled.

As the International Business Times notes, the link between Hillary Clinton and the private prison industry isn’t crystal clear. While one of her bundlers is a registered lobbyist for Geo Group, a company that runs private prisons and immigrant detention centers, and five of her bundlers serve as lawyers for a firm that has represented private prisons on multiple occasions, her campaign has received no itemized contributions from major prison corporations. That said, the link is still, you know, there. And it would be really easy for her to make that link look like less of an issue if she voiced opposition to the private prison industry — an industry that stands in the way of everything she says she wants to do about immigration and criminal justice reform.

Clinton’s silence on the issue is one of the primary reasons why her link to the industry looks so bad. It would be easy enough for her to put an end to the controversy over the issue by saying something negative about profit motives in the criminal justice system, and perhaps by announcing that Richard Sullivan and Brian Popper, the two bundlers most closely associated with the industry, will no longer be affiliated with her campaign. The longer she resists doing that, or anything, in response to these protests, the harder it will be to believe her if and when she does so.

Martin O’Malley has promised to phase out private prisons at the federal level Bernie Sanders has already introduced corresponding legislation in the Senate. This issue is the lowest of low-hanging fruit for the progressive base, and Clinton’s silence on it is drawing a sharp, negative contrast between her and the rest of the field.

UPDATE: That was fast…


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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16 Responses to “Clinton protested (again) over fundraising from private prisons”

  1. Houndentenor says:

    Let me reframe this. What benefit is there to me in deciding now. I’m fine with there not having been debates already. What other country has 18 month long campaigns. By the time we get to an election we’ve been sick of all the candidates for a year. There’s no benefit to voters. I’m happy to sit back and read and watch and listen. And I wouldn’t mind being courted and not taken for granted like politicians too often do. It’s not that I’m not paying attention. I am. I’m just not in a rush to decide for whom I want to vote. Now if a pollster calls I will say which way I’m leaning at the moment, but that’s not very likely. I also don’t have much in the way of money to donate, so again, why do I need to decide over a year before the general election which candidate I favor to vote for in a primary that isn’t for six more months?!

  2. NiteStar says:

    There’s no reason for you NOT to decide, either. You could always create a “list in order of preference.”

    I understand your wanting to watch some debates — we ALL have been wanting to watch some debates for the past couple of months. But the DNC has seen to it that that isn’t going to happen until next week — after the deadline has passed for folks in a handful of states such as New York and Pennsylvania to register to vote and be eligible to vote in next year’s presidential primary. The first in what barely is larger than a handful of debates that will be held in the Democratic field (in contrast to 2008, when there were about four times as many debates and half the number of candidates). :/

    You don’t have to watch the debates to learn about the candidates now; there are countless hours of videos out there that pretty much tell you everything you need to know; it’s how I came to decide upon whom I will be supporting. And if my preferred candidate doesn’t make it to the point where I’m able to vote for them, then I simply re-assess or move on to the next person in my list. )

  3. Houndentenor says:

    Six months is a long time in an election. That wasn’t a slam against Sanders. I’ll be watching debates and listening to what the candidates have to say. Again, there’s no reason for me to decide since I won’t vote for six months.

  4. mf_roe says:

    If you mean March ’17 I would agree, if we are talking March ’16 6 months being beyond Sander’s endurance is laughable given his exceptional performance to date. Hilary’s supporters began the race expecting a coronation by acclamation, that isn’t remotely possible. Her ability to defend her record to the satisfaction of independents will seal her fate.

  5. Houndentenor says:

    My primary isn’t until next March so I’m in no hurry to decide. (I’ve also learned not to bother to pick a candidate who will drop out before I get to vote in a primary making it necessary to choose all over again.)

  6. mf_roe says:

    I think it is important to understand Hilary’s support in terms of her status as the ICON for a particular type of politics not her personality or her competence. She wraps herself in the banner of Women’s Rights, while she lacks any real victories for that cause. She pretends to champion the working class even though her years of Wal Mart Board Membership brands her an enemy of people at the bottom of our economy. She labels herself a dem but her accomplishments are more repug than Reagan’s.

    Her hypocrisy is her Achilles’ heel but it can ONLY be attacked by dems, it is beyond the repugs grasp. Obama demonstrated just what an empty vessel she is, any competent dem need only crib Obama’s game plan.

  7. mf_roe says:

    In a sad irony, he exists and has the Initials BS.

  8. nicho says:

    There is a great piece on Hillary’s insularity and aloofness in Vanity Fair.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/10/hillary-clinton-inside-circle-huma-abedin

    Well worth reading. (Of course the Hillary boosters, flinging feces from their tree fort, will call it a “hit piece” or “anti-woman” or some other predictable nonsense like that.)

  9. Houndentenor says:

    Hillary embodies everything many of us find so revolting about our current politics. The money, the associations (she’s cozy with “The Family”…a dominionist organization), her hawkishness, and her refusal to take any position until long after it’s safe (see her “evolution” on gay marriage). If she’s the best the Democrats can come up with, I’ll vote for her, but surely there is a better candidate that’s not so unapoligetically corrupt.

  10. The_Fixer says:

    This is all about her naked ambition. Whatever gets her into the presidency is what she will say and do.

    At some point, it may be counterproductive to associate with these bundlers. Then, and only then, will she disassociate herself from them.

    Hillary: Political expediency is her specialty. It’s the Clinton “brand.”

  11. mf_roe says:

    Delay, postpone redirect, she is quite good at using New controversies to obscure the Old ones. As a lawyer she is happy to take “Not Proved” when there is NO Case for Innocent.

  12. mf_roe says:

    Avoiding telling the truth isn’t lying, understand that and you will behold the cancer that has consumed our body politic.

  13. Indigo says:

    She’ll have to wait until her focus group arrives at a consensus. It should be within 5-9 working days.

  14. 2karmanot says:

    ” the harder it will be to believer her” Believe her? Seriously? No, seriously, Hills is running a redo of Obama’s brilliant campaigns. I doubt she believes half of her lying promises and policies.

  15. mf_roe says:

    The Perils of Hilary Chapter XXXVI
    “The Vast Conspiracy Swells”

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