Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a top contender among the 2020 Democratic candidates, has called for an end to the practice of for-profit prisons run by private companies.
But a new report reveals that as recently as six years ago, Warren was heavily invested in a retirement fund that owned significant shares in two of the top private prison companies in America and worldwide.
In a post to Medium in June, Warren decried for-profit prisons and vowed to end the “exploitation” of inmates, families, and taxpayers by banning private detention facilities, prohibiting contractors from charging fees for “essential services,” and increasing oversight and transparency requirements.
“There should be no place in America for profiting off putting more people behind bars or in detention,” Warren wrote. “That’s why I will shut down the use of federal private detention facilities by ending all contracts that the Bureau of Prisons, [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], and the U.S. Marshals Service have with private detention providers.”
The Washington Free Beacon reports that, during her Sept. 16 rally in New York City, Warren addressed the issue again. “No one should make a profit locking people up, and no one should have a financial incentive to lobby Congress to lock up even more people,” she said.
But the Free Beacon, citing data from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, showed that Warren herself had personally profited from private prisons by way of her $50,000 retirement investments.
Up until 2013, Warren had been invested in the Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 fund, run by the Vanguard Group investment management firm, which held hundreds of millions of dollars worth of shares in top private prison companies.
Vanguard was the top shareholder, with 12 million shares, in the Corrections Corporation of America — now known as CoreCivic — and among the top shareholders of GEO Group, two of the top private prison companies.
The Free Beacon noted that CCA/CoreCivic owns and operates at least 50 correctional or detention facilities with nearly 90,000 total beds in 20 different states and the District of Columbia. GEO Group owned upwards of 66 prison facilities worldwide in 2013, and a portion of which were ICE detention facilities for illegal aliens awaiting court hearings and deportation.
At the time, those shares were estimated in value at $456 million for CCA and $216 million for GEO Group, and any increase in share value would have been included in Warren’s presumably growing investment portfolio.
No comment – of course
Unsurprisingly, Warren’s campaign declined to respond to a request for comment from the Free Beacon in light of this revelation that Warren had previously been invested in something that she now decries and has vowed to end.
It remains to be seen if this bit of information will prove damaging to Warren’s 2020 campaign. But in all likelihood, her supporters won’t be deterred by her latest act of blatant hypocrisy.