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Mitchell Campaign Calls on Wesson to Give Back the Thousands in Political Contributions he’s Taken from Private Prisons & Apologize for Pushing their Legislation

LOS ANGELES - Councilman Herb Wesson’s hypocrisy is measuring off the charts.While Senator Holly Mitchell has defined her career fighting for substantive polices to end long standing injustices within our criminal justice system, Herb Wesson has taken over $10,0001 in contributions from the private prison industry and their lobbyists and then did their bidding by supporting their legislation.

Senator Mitchell has returned the $1,000 unsolicited contribution in question and is now calling on Wesson to do the same with his thousands he received.

In the Assembly, Wesson did the bidding of the private prison industry by supporting pro-private prisons SB297. The bill would have forced the state to develop a master plan to run its prisons as cheaply as possible, opening the door to the human rights abuses of the private prison industry. The bill was ultimately vetoed by then-Gov. Gray Davis.

During that same time, Wesson also took in $2,000.002 from Hensel Phelps Construction Co., which designs and builds prisons. “There is no bottom for Herb’s hypocrisy,” said Mitchell Campaign Manager Lenée Richards. “Herb Wesson needs to give back the money he has taken from private prisons and publicly apologize to our communities for backing their legislation - before he says one more word about private prisons or criminal justice.”   

Time and time again, Herb Wesson has shown us that he will sell out our communities over the special interests that fill his campaign coffers. He fostered a pay-to-play culture of corruption at Los Angeles City Hall that benefits the interests of corporations over the needs of our communities.

And in 2017, while Senator Mitchell co-authored the California Act to Save Lives – a first of its kind police accountability law – that is now held up as a national model to help prevent overuse of force by law enforcement, Herb Wesson allowed police unions to write their own rules in cases of officer misconduct. It is no surprise that big police unions are spending hundreds of thousands to elect Wesson supervisor. 

Our communities deserve a Supervisor that will consistently fight for justice and equity, not sell us out.


1.      $7,067.85 from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips during the years the firm was lobbying for CCA on the federal level (1998-2002; Senate Office of Public Records, Lobbying Disclosure Act database), as:

$250.00 to “Wesson for Assembly ’98” (Form 490 covering 3/18 – 5/16/98, CA State Archives);

$500.00 to “Wesson for Assembly” (Form 490, covering 1/1/ – 6/30/99, CA State Archives).

$317.85 (Nonmonetary, for fundraiser) to “Wesson for Assembly 2002” on 9/23/01

$3,000.00 to “Wesson for Assembly” on 9/28/01

$3,000.00 to “Wesson for Assembly” on 6/29/02

$2,700.00 from Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP, which has been lobbying for CCA on the federal level for at least 20 years, beginning in 2000 (Senate Office of Public Records, Lobbying Disclosure Act database), as:

$1,000.00 to Wesson for Supervisor 2020 on 3/14/19

$500.00 to Wesson for Supervisor 2020 on 3/12/19

$700.00 to Wesson Officeholder Account on 4/18/18

$500 to Wesson Officeholder Account on 9/12/16

2.      $2,000.00 from Hensel Phelps Construction, as:

$1,000.00 to “Wesson for Assembly ’98” (Form 490 covering 3/18 – 5/16/98, CA State Archives);

$1,000.00 to “Wesson for Assembly” (Form 490, covering 1/1/ – 6/30/99, CA State Archives).

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