Updated Aug 14, 2018

Go deeper: How teachers fund immigrant prisons

Billions of dollars from teachers' pensions have been invested into private prisons that have detained captured undocumented immigrants near the southern border, according to a new report from The American Federation of Teachers.

Adapted from an American Fedration of Teachers report; Note: General Dynamics’s core business is not operating private prisons, but is included because it has contracts with migrant shelters; Table: Axios Visuals

The big picture: AFT, which has 1.7 million total members, says that it kept receiving requests for information from members who expressed concerns about indirectly supporting private prisons used to separate families and detain immigrants.

The details: More than $10 billion was invested into private jail operators GEO Group and CoreCivic, as well as defense contractor General Dynamics, which has worked with the Department of Health and Human services.

  • General Dynamics received the most investment from teacher pension funds, at just over $10 billion through August 7, 2018.

What they're saying: AFT is urging pension fund managers to divest, arguing that not only are these investments ethically questionable, but that they also may be bad business.

  • AFT argues that these companies have benefited from the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, as well as from a policy that allows federal inmates to be housed at private prisons — but both could be reversed.
  • Per AFT President Randi Weingarten: "Hedge funds that invest in private prisons are not only profiting off a broken justice system and abetting the administration’s policies of family separation ... They are also making a risky bet on an industry rightfully under siege."

The other side: GeoGroup said in a statement that it has never managed facilities housing unaccompanied minors or provided services for that purpose, and describes the AFT report as "outrageous." Neither CoreCivic nor General Dynamics returned requests for comment.

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U.S. private equity firms raised record $300 billion in funding in 2019

Illustration: Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

U.S.-based private equity firms raised more than $300 billion for new funds in 2019, according to data released this morning by PitchBook.

The intrigue: It's an all-time record, topping the $241 billion raised in 2016, and a 52% bump over the $198 billion raised in 2018.

Go deeperArrowJan 10, 2020

Mike Bloomberg used prison labor to make 2020 election phone calls

Mike Bloomberg campaigning in Philadelphia on Dec. 21. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg's campaign used prison labor to make campaign calls for the former mayor's 2020 presidential bid, according to an investigation by The Intercept.

Why it matters: Scrutiny on Bloomberg's self-financed campaign has increased since jumping in the race and spending more than $100 million. The latest polling has Bloomberg leading the lower-tier candidates, just behind Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Go deeperArrowDec 24, 2019

Private insurance's costs are skyrocketing

Reproduced from Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

The cost of private health insurance is out of control, compared to Medicare and Medicaid. You see that clearly if you take a long-term view of recently released federal data on health spending.

Why it matters: This is why the health care industry — not just insurers, but also hospitals and drug companies — is so opposed to proposals that would expand the government's purchasing power. And it’s why some progressives are so determined to curb, or even eliminate, private coverage.

Go deeperArrowDec 16, 2019