Both political camps are well known for their behind-the-scenes deal making so it was a little tough to take House Minority Leader Chad Campbell too seriously when he tried to act like a watchdog when he called for an emergency meeting of the Arizona House Appropriations Committee to investigate a last-minute appropriation for private prisons in Arizona, offered during last week’s budget debate.
However, Campbell made a point when he said, “There is something suspicious about this request and we need to know more about the circumstances surrounding it. It is clear from news coverage that the Department of Corrections did not ask for or need the $900,000 that Rep. Kavanagh requested during our budget debate. On top of that, there was no testimony in the House Appropriations Committee about this topic. This raises some serious questions and has created a great deal of public concern.”
Campbell sent a letter to Speaker of the House Andy Tobin, not exactly known as a friend of taxpayer watchdogs, requesting an immediate investigation that would include testimony from the Department of Corrections and GEO Group, a private prisons corporation.
Campbell added that, although this appropriation has been removed from the current budget being heard in the Senate, questions of accountability and transparency remain.