Private prison company moves annual conference to Trump golf course

Private prison company moves annual conference to Trump golf course
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A private prison group moved its annual conference to the Trump National Doral Golf Club in Miami this year, in an apparent ongoing effort to align more closely with President Trump.

The Washington Post reported that GEO Group, a private prison company, has ramped up its political spending, donating millions of dollars over the past two years to support Trump — including donating to super PACs and the inaugural committee — making campaign donations and lobbying.

GEO Group, which owns and manages about 140 prisons and detention centers, moved its conference to the Trump golf course this year.

One of Trump’s earliest moves in his presidency was to roll back Obama-era plans to reduce the use of private prisons. GEO has benefited from this action, scoring the Trump administration’s first contract for an immigration detention center, according to the Post. 

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GEO Group did not answer the Post’s questions about its political activity or details about the cost of booking the Doral resort for its conference.

“Over the years, we have held company and employee meetings at a variety of venues around the country, and as a Florida-based company, we have held meetings throughout the state, including at Doral,” the group said in a statement to the Post — the investigation found that the private prison company held a shareholder meeting at the golf course one time, before Trump purchased it.

“We do not take a position on, or advocate for or against, criminal justice, sentencing, immigration enforcement or detention policies,” the statement said. “Our political and lobbying activities focus on promoting the benefits of public-private partnerships.”

The Doral is Trump's biggest moneymaker, and has hosted events for several other groups that have government contracts, some the same week as the GEO conference, the Post reported.

Though the president no longer manages his company, the use of Trump properties for government-related events has raised concerns about ethical conflicts — activists recently urged Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch not to give a speech at the Trump International Hotel. 

And some groups, professional sports teams in particular, have made a conscious effort to move away from Trump properties. The Miami Heat announced they would not hold their annual charity golf tournament at the Doral this year.