Jeff Sessions Getting Rich Filling Private Prisons (Updated)
Jeff Sessions makes money from sending people to prison.Credit: DonkeyHotey
April 12, 2017

UPDATE 9/17/2018 It has come to our attention that has an issue with the conclusions in this post, though they do not dispute the facts. Fundamentally, their issue is with the assertion that Sessions is "getting rich" through an investment in mutual funds containing large investments in private prison companies GEO and CoreCivic. They argue that these funds are well-diversified funds and therefore the gains from private prisons would be a negligible part of the larger portfolio.

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It's more than a conflict of interest. The more people Attorney General Jeff Sessions sends to private prisons, the more money he shoves in his pockets. From announcing he wants federal law enforcement agencies to bust people for a little bit of weed, to ordering federal prosecutors to find ways to convict more immigrants, Sessions is looking for ways to provide more clients to private prisons that are contracted by the federal government.

On Tuesday, Sessions announced orders to expand the prosecution of undocumented workers. Anyone caught crossing the border without inspection will no longer be charged with a misdemeanor and returned to their countries of origin. Each will now be charged with a felony and be required to be formerly deported. This process can require detention anywhere from a week to eighteen months. Plans to increase the number of immigration judges by three-fold and prosecutors are officially under way. If immigrants return after being formerly deported, they will be subject to a felony charge of re-entry after being deportation which can result in a two year prison sentence.

Additionally, Sessions ordered prosecutors to begin charging anyone "harboring" three or more undocumented immigrants with felony harboring statutes. This will mean a father with three family members can now face years of prison time for putting a roof over his families head. The undocumented with fake or stolen ID cards used to enter the U.S. and obtain employment can now be charged with felony document fraud and aggravated identity theft. Time for these charges can be two or more years.

The increase in prosecutions will lead to an increase in convictions. The Trump administration has abandoned the Obama administration's promise to no longer contract with private prisons. Private prison companies like The GEO Group and CoreCivic Inc. lead the industry and have contracts with the federal government and specifically the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

As Attorney General Sessions fills these private prisons, he is making money. According to his latest financial disclosures required by congress, dated December 23, 2016, he divested of other investments that were found to be in conflict. In these disclosures, he also lists numerous Vanguard funds. Vanguard owns more private prison stock than any other investment management company. None of the Vanguard funds listed below were included in the divestiture.

The latest data of Vanguard funds' portfolio information is dated February 28, 2017. The following are a list of funds owned by Jeff Sessions that was from Vanguard's website:

  1. Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Admiral Shares - consists of both GEO Group and CoreCivic, Inc. stocks worth over $164,000,000. Sessions investment value is from $15,001 - $50,000.
  2. Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Admiral Shares - same fund as above, but Sessions lists investment value between $1,001 - $15,000.
  3. Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund Admiral Shares - consisits of stocks from The GEO Group and CoreCivic, Inc. valued at over $173,500,000. Sessions shows investments valued from $15,000 - $50,000.
  4. Vanguard Total International Stock Index Admiral Shares - contains GEO Holdings Corporation stock valued at over $4,400,000. Sessions owns $1,001 - $15,000 of this fund.

If he still owns these funds, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is making policy that he will financially profit from. This blatant lack of morals and ethics shows once again how Sessions is not fit to be the U.S. Attorney General.

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