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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Biden Must Fire Michael Carvajal

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on June 30, 2021

President Joe Biden must fire Michael Carvajal, right now. Carvajal is Donald Trump's handpicked director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Not only is Carvajal a failure as one of Trump's executive-level experiments in affirmative action, but he also allowed Biden to look foolish in the June 16, 2021 meeting between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland.

During the Geneva meeting, Biden warned Putin there would be "devastating consequences" should Alexei Navalry, an opposition leader in Russia, die in prison. Understandably, Putin was dismissive of Biden's warning because America's track record of prisoner abuse in federal prisons is nearly as bad as the Russian's. Like Russia, U.S. prisons hold scores of political prisoners. Most of them are the black victims of modern-day COINTELPRO federal prosecutors in southern states and complicit federal judges.

On Carvajal's watch as BOP director, U.S. prison officials at FCI Manchester, Kentucky stripped male prisoners naked, physically restrained them with straps, and sprayed their testicles with burning chemical mace. Inmate James Summers (Reg. No. 51863-074) experienced this mistreatment in 2020 in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) at FCI Manchester. Thankfully, a prison guard reported Summers' abuse to BOP officials, but none of the guards who engaged in the mistreatment of Summers has been criminally prosecuted for torturing him.

At the same prison and during the same time period, prison guards engaged in the vicious beating of inmates who were forced to walk backwards in a crouched position with their hands cuffed behind their backs. Yet, Carvajal did nothing to stop this prisoner abuse.

It should be noted that Carvajal lacks a four-year undergraduate or post-graduate degree in prison administration and is eminently unqualified for his current job. Carvajal was elevated to the director's post because of his Hispanic background, his Republican leanings, and his willingness to serve as a political flunky for former Attorney General William Barr.

Why Carvajal has not been fired by Biden since assuming office on January 20, 2021 is an open question.

Pay-to-Play Scheme

Beyond the routine administration of inhumane prisoner treatment at some federal prisons, public corruption has flourished under Carvajal's directorship. In "America First: The Political Scam of the Decade", published on March 25, 2021, I detailed a massive pay-to-play scheme that operates out of the BOP's Washington, D.C. office under the patriotic sounding political mantra of "America First." In reality, since 2005, the BOP has awarded 77 sole-source contracts to the Bob Barker Company in Fuquay, North Carolina to provide a wide range of products to all federal prisons. For clarification, this is not a company founded and run by Bob Barker of the "Price is Right" TV game show.

This Bob Barker Company supplies the nation's 122 federal prisons with low-quality, high-priced, foreign-manufactured goods such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, shaving gel, body wash, soap, hand wash, shampoo/conditioner, grooming products, combs, brushes, clippers, lotions, toiletry items, hand sanitizers, OTC medicines, inmate uniforms, guard uniforms, other clothing items and undergarments, shoes, sheets/blankets, towels/wash cloths, laundry supplies, paper/writing supplies, reading glasses, plastic chairs/tables, mirrors, padlocks, handcuffs, leg irons, and a host of other foreign-made goods.

Individuals affiliated with the Bob Barker Company have established a political slush fund that primarily benefits Republican candidates for the U.S. Presidency and Congress. In 2020, Bob Barker affiliated individuals contributed a total of $134,002 to political recipients. Of this amount, $124,963 (or 98.34%) was contributed to Republicans and $2,114 (or 1.66%) was contributed to Democrats.

The company contributed $13,625 to the Trump campaign, $10,384 to the Republican National Committee, $8,050 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, $7,500 to Sen. Lindsey Graham's campaign, and $5,600 to Rep. Kevin McCarthy's campaign. Sen. Graham (R-S.C.) was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that has oversight of BOP operations during Trump's presidency.

A listing of the Bob Barker Company's major political contributions to Republican and Democratic candidates in 2020 is identified in the "America First" article, as referenced above.

A Criminal Investigation is Needed to Probe Widespread Corruption Within the BOP

Biden's Justice Department needs to launch a full-scale criminal investigation into this ongoing pay-to-play scheme. It appears to be out of control. The probe should focus on the exchange of cash and other "things of value" that individuals affiliated with The Bob Barker Company may have provided to those BOP officials who draft the BOP's various requests for proposals for national contracting opportunities and those officials who administer the BOP's procurement of goods and services from outside vendors.

Corruption at the BOP's Central Office dwarfs the fraud, waste, abuse, and public corruption reported in "OIG Complaint Reports Widespread Corruption at Talladega Federal Prison," published on November 7, 2020, and "Contraband Trafficking Ring Operated from Warden's Office, SIS Unit at FCI Talladega," published on December 27, 2020.

Furthermore, Carvajal's mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic cost the lives of 240 inmates. Despite Congressional action in enacting the CARES Act of 2020 to facilitate an anticipated large-scale transfer of non-violent federal inmates from low-level prisons and out-custody camps to home confinement during the pandemic, Carvajal single-handedly blocked almost all of inmate requests for compassionate release under the Act. This executive action allowed the BOP to continue charging taxpayers more than $39,000 per inmate housed in federal prisons and protected the flow of campaign money to Republican candidates from the Bob Barker contracts.

Carvajal's Credibility on Capitol Hill is Shot

Carvajal has repeatedly lied to Congress about the sad state of administrative affairs and financial instability at the BOP on multiple occasions. Carvajal's glaring incompetence has led to blistering criticism from Congressional Oversight Committee members in the House and Senate, as well as withering reports from the Department of Justice's Inspector General and the federal government's General Accounting Office.

Carvajal is running a "clown show" at the BOP, as these choice words were used recently by William Barr to described another Trump fiasco (i.e., Trump's legal team for the 2020 election challenges). The question here is this: When will President Biden bring Carvajal's BOP "clown show" to an end?

Finally, the staffing within BOP prisons is down by one-third, and the agency is near insolvency. The BOP may need an emergency allocation of federal funds, or bailout money, before the new fiscal year starts on October 1, 2021.

As a result of Carvajal's colossal administrative failures and never-ending propensity to lie, his reputation for truth and veracity on Capitol Hill is as bad as Donald Trump's. Carvajal must be fired, now!

PHOTO: BOP director, Michael Carvajal, testifies during a U.S. Senate Judiciary hearing.

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