The Arizona bill had 36 co-sponsors. Of those 36, 30 received contributions from prison corporations or prison lobbyists within 6 months and 2/3rds have ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council, basically a "smoke-filled backroom" 501(c)(3) whose sole purpose is to act as a "matchmaker," introducing corporate America to politicians (specifically state legislators). Oddly enough, these state legislators go home and introduce model legislation drafted by these corporations and...whaddya know...they get campaign contributions for the corporations. Now that's America!
NPR spent the past several months analyzing hundreds of pages of campaign finance reports, lobbying documents and corporate records. What they show is a quiet, behind-the-scenes effort to help draft and pass Arizona Senate Bill 1070 by an industry that stands to benefit from it: the private prison industry.
NPR has been under attack by our own Sen. Jim DeMinted and the right. They want to pull public funding. We even had a debate with a friend who believes NPR should not get and govt funding, under the theory that what NPR offers in journalism, the free market would provide if NPR wasn't already there. But when you consider the facts of a story like this, that it's the same corporate America that would allegedly fund that alternative media source that is using money to influence and corrupt the political process, doesn't that make a strong case that we do need a government funded media outlet, free from that type of conflict of interest? We think so.