John Kelly played a key role in implementing the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement policy, which resulted in thousands of migrant children being forcibly separated from their parents and detained in Department of Health and Human Services facilities, and facilities contracted by the government. Now Kelly stands to profit from that policy as a board member of Caliburn International, which runs the only for-profit facilities that are being used to detain those children. 

In May, CREW requested any communications involving John Kelly and Caliburn or Comprehensive from HHS, including with specific HHS officials. CREW was told that the request was too broad and was denied records, so CREW sued HHS for the records under the Freedom of Information Act. 

Kelly’s career shows how the revolving door spins between government and the industries it regulates and contracts with. Before joining the Trump Administration in January 2017, Kelly served on the board of advisors of D.C. Capital Partners, a private equity firm that owns Caliburn. He then became DHS Secretary, and then White House Chief of Staff, where he defended and helped implement the “zero tolerance” policy. Now, he is on the board of Caliburn, which runs the largest private detention center that houses children separated at the border, which has directly profited from that policy, which he continues to defend. 

The public has a right to know whether Kelly used his position in government to advocate for his financial interests, and whether they involve the private equity firm that owns the detention centers, or the company that operates the centers itself. 

Lawsuit Documents