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2016 Election: Petition Calls Out Marco Rubio for Accepting $40,000 From For-Profit Prison Industry

First Posted: May 15, 2015 02:58 PM EDT

Photo : Richard Ellis / Getty Images

Like big oil and gun lobbying groups, the multibillion dollar private prison industry is using capital power to gain influence in the political arena by donating large amounts of cash to elected officials. And Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is their newest focus. 

According to a 2011 report released by The Justice Policy Institute, the private federal prison population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, while privately run prisons rake in $3.3 billion in combined revenue each year.

However, in order to keep their prisons full and their profits high, lobbyists are making generous donations to politicians in hope that they will support legislation that maintains a constant influx of prisoners into their jails. is giving this issue some much needed attention by calling out Sen. Rubio for accepting over $40,000 in campaign donations from the GEO Group, the second-largest for-profit prison company in the nation. The Washington Post reports that Rubio has maintained close ties with GEO that stretch all the way back to stint as the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

However, now that he is running for president, says it's time for voters to call him out for supporting the private prison industry, which makes gross profits from the mass incarceration of people in the U.S.

"Despite a large drop in violent crime, the private prison industry's profits depend on high incarceration rates and strict immigration enforcement," wrote petition author and Care2 social media manager Julie Mastrine on the petition, titled "Marco Rubio: Pledge to Stop Taking Money from the Private Prison Industry!"

"Private prison companies don't just line politicians' pockets expecting nothing in return -- these arrangements are incredibly harmful because they result in legislation that funnels more human lives into cages," the petition states.

The Libertarian group Voices of Liberty has also suggested that Sen. Rubio is "owned" by the prison industry.

"If the prison lobby continues to grow and candidates like Rubio remain in office, taxpayers and minorities will continue to pay, not only with their hard-earned money but also with their lives," it states.

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