Republicans in Wisconsin are looking to amend the state’s constitution to prevent outside billionaires like Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg from donating millions or hundreds of millions of dollars in an attempt to influence election outcomes.
“Rep. Tyler August, R-Lake Geneva, is proposing a constitutional amendment that would ban private donations for election operations in the state,” Just the News reported Friday.
“[It] would prohibit out-of-state billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook from using their deep pockets to control our local election administration,” August noted on Twitter Thursday.
The report adds:
Zuckerberg and his Center for Tech and Civic Life are at the heart of Wisconsin’s election investigations. Both former Supreme Court Justice Mike Gableman and state lawmakers want answers as to just how Wisconsin’s five largest (and five largest Democratic) cities used nearly $9 million in grants from the group in the 2020 election.
While CTCL offered Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Racine, and Kenosha grant money as a way to help people vote during the coronavirus, evidence suggests the group did a lot more. There are emails and reports that CTCL all but took over the election operation in Green Bay.
In an email to state lawmakers earlier this week, August noted that while current law does not prohibit private organizations from offering money to election offices, it also does not expressly permit it.
“These donations still broke the spirit of our election laws,” August’s email said. “Voters need to be able to trust that their local election officials are acting in a non-partisan capacity.”
Rep. Gae Magnifici, R-Dresser, said something similar on Twitter.
“I’ve talked about this attack on public faith and the importance of restoring the integrity of Wisconsin’s elections countless times,” she wrote. “I’m proud to co-sponsor Rep. August’s constitutional amendment to prohibit out-of-state billionaires from buying our election.”
But as good as the intentions may be, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers isn’t likely to sign any other election integrity bill that majority Republicans in the state legislature are working on. That said, if the GOP-controlled legislature passes the constitutional amendment, Evers won’t have any say — those go straight to voters.
Still, the concern over “Zuckerbucks” is legitimate.
“No conversation about 2020 election integrity — or about the integrity of future elections, for that matter — is complete without understanding the full picture of how Facebook CEO Zuckerberg strategically bankrolled and staffed local government election offices, which are in charge of voter registration, voting, and vote counting,” The Federalist’s Kylee Zemple reported in October.
“He did this through two primary front groups, a process Federalist Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway painstakingly outlines in her new book out this week, ‘Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections,'” she wrote, adding:
Here’s how it worked. Zuckerberg gifted nearly half a billion dollars to two left-wing groups that then gave the money to government election offices. One of these two groups was the Center for Technology and Civic Life. By the September before the election, Zuckerberg and his wife had given it $350 million, meaning the small organization’s prior revenues of $1.8 million exploded by roughly 20,000 percent.
The cash, or “Zuckerbucks,” wasn’t an unconditional donation, however. There were strings attached, which amounted to Democrat get-out-the-vote efforts, mass mail-in voting, and ballot “curing,” whereby election workers “fix” mail-in ballot problems after the ballot has been submitted.
These dollars also didn’t flow indiscriminately to needy areas of the country but largely to government election offices in the biggest cities of swing states, where the majority of Democrat voters are concentrated. Those funds were used for Democrat voter outreach, designing and translating ballots, and staffing ballot harvesting, curing, and counting operations.
Republicans are right to be concerned about this. And those who say Republicans ought to do something about it ahead of the next election cycle are equally spot-on. Because if they don’t, Democrat billionaires will continue to ‘purchase’ elections for their chosen candidates.