Please sir, may I have some more?
Pecunia non olet said Vaspasian, or so they say. Money doesn't stink, or so you'd think when looking at the way Florida governor Rick Scott laps it up like a cat with spilt milk. Showing up Monday at a Boca Raton, Florida home of GEO Group CEO George Zoley for his $10,000 a plate fundraiser ( another $3K if you want to come to the reception) would suggest that Scott can't smell dirty money, as Zoley's company is in the business of running private prisons -- some say the worst in the country -- that squeeze the life and health out of prisoners as well as exposing the guards to unnecessary danger.
Of course it may be that Scott smells it all too well and, like a culture, is attracted to the smell of graft and corruption and human suffering. You'll recall his involvement with the largest Medicare fraud ever exposed. You may not recall that Zoley gave Mr. Scott $20,000 to add to the $800,000 of taxpayer money to pimp up the governor's mansion. Yes, it was a drop in the bucket compared to the great flood of lobbyist money soaked up by the Governor, but Scott is not one to forget his obligations to contributors.
No money doesn't care who owns it and it doesn't stink even though the people and deeds connected to it may reek. The dollars saved by understaffing prisons and serving substandard, sometimes maggot infested food to prisoners adult and juvenile affirm his credentials with his party and particularly because so many of the inmates rotting and starving and being beaten in GEO prisons are immigrants. Last year a group of protesters chained themselves to the doors of the GEO Group corporate headquarters in Palm Beach in protest over GEO's "pivotal role in promoting discriminatory laws that target people of color,
immigrants, youth, transgender individuals, and the poor." There have been hunger strikes. There have been investigations looking into accusations that inmates were being served rotten food and suffering from food poisoning at the Broward County, Florida facility. There were also allegations of sexual assault among detainees and reports of several suicide attempts says the Broward/Palm Beach NewTimes blog. Did I mention that Scott is a Republican?
But we can't accuse old snake eyes of total blindness to appearances. After all Zoley was a second choice after it became known that the original host, real estate mogul James Batmasian, was convicted of tax evasion in 2008. Batmasian, who spent eight months in federal prison and completed a two-year supervised release program, also had his legal license suspended in Florida. That stinks, even if his money doesn't. It stinks almost as much as his rather dishonest and scurrilous accusations made against his likely opponent, Charley Crist, but to his supporters it doesn't matter any more than facts do. Rick Scott saved us money by abusing prisoners and a penny saved is a penny you can spend on yourself. And besides, prisoners can't vote.