Prime U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contractors have thrown $215,000 dollars into the California Democratic Party during the past year despite visceral opposition to the government immigration agency.
GEO Group, a private prison company that operates two ICE detention facilities in California, is the largest ICE contractor that has contributed to the party during the past year, according to the East Bay Express. The report cited campaign finance records showing the one company donated $140,000 to the party during the past 15 months.
The revelation comes despite Democrats’ vocal opposition to and actions to inhibit the work of the agency.
Democrats pushed the California Values Act that bans local law enforcement from cooperating with ICE. The report noted California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s lawsuit against the Trump administration in an effort to block border wall construction.
The Democrat Party has seen increased calls to abolish ICE recently, including calls from legislators themselves. Kevin de León, California Senate president pro tempore, held an “Abolish ICE Cream Social” this month. The event hosted delegates at the state Party’s convention.
The state Party recently endorsed de León for U.S. Senate over incumbent Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, citing, among other “achievements,” his work to secure California’s Sanctuary State law.
According to the report:
Five other corporations, including multinational consulting companies Grant Thornton, Deloitte, and Ernst & Young, as well as political action committees for defense contractors Boeing and Northrop Grumman, which both have a history of working with ICE, collectively gave $75,000 during the same period.
The three consulting companies have been paid millions from ICE contracts, primarily “data and record management services,” according to federal contracts cited in the report.
The two defense contractors donated through their political action committees. Northrop Grumman provided ICE with handheld identification devices and tracking software during the past two years.
California Democratic Party chair Eric Bauman, elected in May 2017, declared in July 2018 that the state Party would no longer take money from “companies or trade associations that operate private prisons, private detention centers or other incarceration services that should be provided by publicly-accountable government entities.” Bauman backdated the pledge to the date of his election. Contributions taken before that time are to be donated to “organizations fighting to assist and protect immigrants whose lives are being endangered by the policies of the Trump Administration and organizations dedicated to assist and rehabilitate people coming out of prison and looking to reestablish their lives.”
The Express reported that GEO Group donated $65,000 of the $140,000 just ten days before Bauman’s election. Assuming the Party follows through with the pledge, it will still keep the $65,000. In comparison, GEO Group contributed a much smaller $40,000 to the California Republican Party.