Avoyelles is being sold out by Gov. Bobby Jindal. The governor knows how to play the game of politics at the expense of his own citizens.
The numbers are simple. Money given to legislators talks.
Of the 25 members of the committee who voted to sell the state prison in Cottonport, 20 received campaign contributions from corporate members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) or Jindal—or both. Several corporate members of ALEC are in the private prison business.
Voting FOR the possible prison sale (13): State Reps. Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, John A. “Johnny” Berthelot, R-Gonzales, Robert Billiot, D-Waggaman, Henry Burns, R-Haughton, Simone Champagne, R-Jeanerette, Bubba Chaney, R-Rayville, Patrick Connick, R-Marrero, Franklin Foil, R-Baton Rouge, Cameron Henry, R-New Orleans, Bob Hensgens, R-Abbeville, Anthony Ligi, R-Metairie, J. Rogers Pope, R-Denham Springs, and John Schroder, R-Covington.
According to Thomas Well, who writes for the on-line company “Louisiana Voice” many of the lawmakers on just the House Appropriations Committee received campaign contributions. Consider this, two corporate members of ALEC are with Corrections Corp. of America (CCA) of Nashville, Tennessee and G4S (formerly Wackenhut) of Jupiter, Florida, both private prison companies. CCA is presently contracted to run Winn Correctional Center in Winnfield. Other members of ALEC are Global Expertise in Outsourcing, Inc. (GEO Group) of Boca Raton, Florida and LaSalle Management Co. of Ruston, which operates eight facilities in Louisiana.
Based on the money figures, it looks as if the House Appropriations Committee had their votes in line before the meeting even started. Is the same going to hold true on the House floor or even in the Senate? It could because the Governor and ALEC gave contributions to who they though could help their cause, good or bad.
The LaSalle Management, the GEO Group, and Wackenhut each contributed $10,000 to Jindal’s campaigns in 2003, 2006, 2007 and In fact 20 of the 25 members received money from Jindal or corporate members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), fact 20 of the 25 members received money from Jindal or corporate members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) received a contribution of $2,500 from Jindal and another $6,500 from ALEC.
Jindal also contributed $2,500 to Rep. Cameron Henry (R-Metairie), Rep. Simone Champagne (R-Erath), Rep. Charles Chaney (R-Rayville), Rep. Patrick Connick (R-Marrero), Rep. Franklin Foil (R-Baton Rouge), Rep. Brett Geymann (R-Lake Charles), Rep. Joe Harrison (R-Gray), Rep. Bob Hensgens (R-Abbeville), Rep. James Morris (R-Oil City), Rep. John Schroder (R-Covington), Rep. Jared Brossett (D-New Orleans), and Rep. Walt Leger (D-New Orleans). Jindal gave $5,000 in contributions to Rep. John Berthelot (R-Gonzales), Rep. Anthony Ligi (R-Metairie), and Rep. Henry Burns (R-Haughton).
ALEC gave in contributions $4,500 to Rep. James Armes (D-Leesville), $16,000 to Champagne, $38,000 to Geymann, $2,000 to Harrison, $20,700 to Ligi, $6,000 to Rep. Jack Montoucet (D-Crowley), $2,000 to Schroder, and $15,500 to Rep. Ledricka Thierry (D-Opelousas).
Last week the House Bill 850 by Rep. Henry Burns was passed by the House Appropriations Committee by a narrow 13-11 vote.
Today the issue will go to the full House for a vote, and the balance of almost 400 workers in Avoyelles Parish could be severely affected. On Tuesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center went on record opposing the bill.
ALEC is a non-profit organization that provides a constructive forum for state legislators and private sector leaders to discuss and exchange practical, state-level public policy issues, according to its website. The organization respects diversity of thought; it is a non-partisan resource for its members, which include more than 2,000 Republican and Democratic state legislators. Instead of being an organization for good, it is being used as a tool for political maneuvering.
When legislators should be standing up to Governor Jindal on the prison issue and saying this isn’t right, instead they are wilting to his pressure and simply being bought out.
Instead of studying the sale of the prison, it is the members of the House Appropriations Committee that needs to be studied and questioned how the vote went down last week.