Monthly Archives: May 2013
The GEO Group held its annual shareholders meeting at the Breakers hotel in Palm Beach. About 20 South Florida activists assembled from 7:30 am to 9:30 am to demonstrate against GEO’s Group’s legislative lobbying activities and human rights abuses. Simultaneously, shareholder activists unaffiliated with the student protest proposed and advocated for a shareholders resolution calling for GEO to disclose its lobbying practices.
Michael Crosby, of the Midwest Capuchin Franciscans supported the resolution during the shareholders meeting. In his statement supporting the resolution Crosby explained that, “GEO group does not disclose its trade association memberships and payments, and shareholders have no way to know if our company is making payments that ultimately are used for lobbying contrary to shareholders’ interests.”
It was evident that many shareholders agreed that the lack of lobbying transparency was unacceptable, as the resolution received 32.3 % of the vote excluding abstentions. Additionally, Michael Crosby reports that the two largest holders of GEO stock, ISS and Glass Lewis both supported and cast their votes for the resolution.
In addition to the shareholder action, 29 local and national human rights groups signed a letter in support of the resolution, and calling for legislators to reject funds from private prison companies. The letter states, “For the sake of our communities, our families, and our country, we call on GEO and CCA to be transparent and accountable for their efforts to legislate injustice, and on legislators to stop allowing these prison profiteers to influence the process.”
Shareholder Proposal Requesting Annual Disclosure of Lobbying Information
The Congregation of St. Joseph, 1515 West Ogden Avenue, La Grange Park, IL, 60526, the beneficial owner of 200 shares of GEO common stock, The Sisters of Providence, 1801 Lind Avenue SW, #9016, Renton, WA 98057-9016, the beneficial owner of 120 shares of GEO common stock, The Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order, 1015 North Ninth Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233, the beneficial owner of shares of GEO common stock valued at greater than $2,000, and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, 25 Beacon Street, Boston, MA, 02108, the beneficial owner of shares of GEO common stock common stock valued at greater than $2,000, have submitted the following shareholder proposal. We are not responsible for the content of the shareholder proposal and the proponent’s supporting statement, which are presented below as they were submitted to us.
“Whereas, corporate lobbying exposes our company to risks that could impact the company’s stated goals, objectives and ultimately shareholder value, and
Whereas, we rely on the information provided by our company to evaluate goals and objectives, and we, therefore, have a strong interest in full disclosure of our company’s lobbying to assess whether our company’s lobbying is consistent with its expressed goals and in the best interests of shareholders and long-term value.
Resolved, the shareholders of The GEO Group (“GEO”) request the Board authorize the preparation of a report, updated annually, disclosing:
- Company policy and procedures governing lobbying, both direct and indirect, and grassroots lobbying communications
- Payments by GEO used for (a) direct or indirect lobbying or (b) grassroots lobbying communications, in each case including the amount of the payment and the recipient.
- GEO’s membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation.
- Description of the decision making process and oversight by the management and Board for making payments described in section 2 above
On Tuesday May 7th, The GEO Group is holding its annual shareholders meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, to protests by the local community. On the same day, in Washington DC, a coalition of social justice groups are protesting the the 30th anniversary of the Corrections Corporation of America. The two largest private prison companies in the world, GEO and CCA profit from locking people up, and are paid by the state and federal government, per head for each person in their facilities. In order to increase their profits, these companies have successfully pushed legislation that increase rates of detention and incarceration, resulting in the US incarceration rate, which is the highest in the world. We call on GEO and CCA to transparently disclose their lobbying efforts, and on all members of congress to stop accepting funds from private prison lobbyists.