Jamie Dimon, Head of JPMorgan Chase, Pressed on Private Prisons, Trump Council Seat

JPMorganMarch
Demonstrators protest the JPMorgan Chase & Co. annual meeting over financing of private prisons and CEO seat on President Trump's economic council. Courtesy Make The Road New York

Demonstrators marched to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s annual meeting in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday to protest the bank’s financing of private prisons and CEO Jamie Dimon’s seat on President Donald Trump’s business advisory council.

Several protesters attended the meeting and pressed Dimon on the bank’s financing of debt for CoreCivic Inc. and Geo Group Inc., companies that operate immigration detention centers.

“I stood right in front of him and asked him what he is going to do to separate himself from the Trump administration and from the business of immigrant detention,” Maria Rubio, an immigrant from Honduras who now lives in Brooklyn, tells Newsweek.

“I said that I was opposed to the executive pay resolution, and in particular that someone would be enriching himself so much at the same time that he was participating in the suffering of our community.”

Dimon made $28 million last year.

Dimon said he would check into Rubio’s concerns. “We will look into the funding of these prisons you’re talking about,” Dimon answered during the meeting, according to Bloomberg. “I’m not sure we completely agree with you.”

Dimon, who gave over $500,000 to Democratic politicians between 1989 and 2009,  also rejected calls that he leave Trump’s business council, saying, “He’s the pilot flying the airplane.… We’re trying to help. I would try to help any president of the United States because I’m a patriot,” Bloomberg reported.

JPMorgan Chase has given CoreCivic a $132.5 million line of credit and was one of several banks that combined to give Geo Group a $900 million line of credit, according to Oakland, California, think tank In The Public Interest, which called the bank, “One of the private prison industry’s most dedicated lenders.”

The election of President Trump is generally seen as a boon for the private prison industry, with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversing an Obama order that phased out their use for federal prisoners. Stocks of both companies have spiked sharply since November.

About 250 protesters marched from a branch of Wells Fargo—another company that immigrant and workers’ rights groups have branded as “Corporate Backers of Hate”—to the JPMorgan Chase meeting. The marchers carried signs that read “Their profits/our pain” and “Resist!”

“I felt good that he had to listen to us and take us into account and respond to us,” Rubio says.

“Now we’re going to be watching carefully to make sure that he really does it.