Zuckerbucks 101: How A Media Mogul Took Over The 2020 Election And Why GOP Leaders Must Never Let It Happen Again

Zuckerbucks 101: How A Media Mogul Took Over The 2020 Election And Why GOP Leaders Must Never Let It Happen Again

The last election was unacceptable. And before the next one, more Republican leaders must wake up to the mess that was created in 2020 and refuse to accept another sloppy round.
Kylee Zempel
By

MADISON, Wis. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reaffirmed his state’s commitment to election integrity on Tuesday, especially keeping tech giants and their partisan CEOs from corrupting local elections. Given what we know now about how Mark Zuckerberg and other left-wing actors commandeered election operations in blue hubs of swing states in 2020, other states would do well to follow DeSantis’s lead — and Wisconsin is a good case study in why.

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. 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.”

The Zuckerberg Infiltration

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.

Make no mistake, CTCL is no apolitical actor. All three of its founders previously worked for the New Organizing Institute, a now-defunct organization that was run by ex-Obama staffer Ethan Roeder and funded heavily by left-wing behemoths such as George Soros to train leftist activists in digital campaign strategy and with war games for election success.

The Washington Post championed the New Organizing Institute as “the left’s think tank for campaign know-how” and “the Democratic Party’s Hogwarts for digital wizardry.” These descriptors aren’t surprising given that its board was also composed of leftist leaders.

Although the New Organizing Institute went belly-up in 2015, its ghost still lives in the partisan CTCL where Zuckerberg dumped his hundreds of millions of dollars. The Capital Research Center traced many of these Zuckerbucks and found that through the Facebook CEO’s funding, CTCL gave $6.7 million to Wisconsin, with half of those funds going to blue Madison and Milwaukee.

This trend of the majority of Zuckerbucks funding blue areas was consistent across the swing states. For instance, according to InfluenceWatch’s analysis in Pennsylvania, CTCL grants to counties Donald Trump carried averaged about 57 cents per capita as opposed to $3.11 per capita in the counties Joe Biden carried. In Texas, it was 55 cents per capita versus $3.22, respectively.

For Example…

One investigation by Wisconsin Spotlight exposed how Zuckerberg’s grant conditions corrupted local elections. Emails revealed that CTCL connected city election administrators to Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, a former Democrat operative and the head of the National Vote at Home Institute’s efforts in the Dairy State. Spitzer-Rubenstein became the “de facto elections chief,” according to Wisconsin Spotlight, especially in Green Bay.

Emails show Spitzer-Rubenstein asking city clerk Kris Teske if he could help “cure” ballots and enlisting pressure from the Democrat mayor when Teske declined over legal concerns. Multiple times, Teske brought these concerns to her superiors, saying the “grant mentors” weren’t familiar with state law and that their “help” was probably illegal.

“I don’t understand how people who don’t have knowledge of the process can tell us how to manage the election,” Teske wrote to the Green Bay finance director in late August. Frustrated, Teske took a leave of absence in October and by the end of the year had resigned.

With Teske out, however, that meant Spitzer-Rubenstein got outsized control. Emails revealed how the former Democratic operative helped make decisions about how to handle and transport ballots. Two days before the election, he had access to the convention center where votes were counted. Also days before the election, Spitzer-Rubenstein received four of the five keys to the room where ballots were being kept.

“The city of Green Bay literally gave the keys to the election to a Democratic Party operative from New York,” Wisconsin Spotlight described it.

Sandy Juno, the former clerk of Brown County where Green Bay is the county seat, said that in the months prior to the election, Green Bay had cut off communication with the county clerk’s office and “went rogue.” Furthermore, she said, the counting process at the convention center “was tainted by the influence of a person working for an outside organization affecting the election.”

But Wait, There’s More

A closer look at Wisconsin reveals a host of other issues on top of Zuckerberg’s election takeover.

As Hemingway outlines in the book, “The state kept 234,000 invalid voter registrations on its voter rolls, even when ordered to remove them by a court. The clerks of the two biggest Democratic counties got tens of thousands of people to claim they were ‘indefinitely confined,’ enabling them to vote by mail without showing any identification. But one of the most important things Wisconsin Democrats did was disenfranchise the Green Party presidential ticket and otherwise work to keep third-party candidates off the ballot.”

In a particularly brazen act, the Wisconsin Elections Commission denied Kanye West a spot on the ballot because he was allegedly 14 seconds late in filing his paperwork. After arriving at the correct building before the 5 p.m. deadline to turn in the papers, struggling to gain entry to the locked facility, and then having the papers initially accepted as “not later than 5 p.m.,” West’s team was later denied and ultimately declared “late” because the commission said they had received them at 5:00:14 — seriously. (Hemingway lays out the whole incident in her chapter “Fourteen Seconds Too Late.”)

And let’s not forget about how Democrats had already exercised voter suppression in Wisconsin in 2020 — during the spring election to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.

This is all just the goings-on of one Midwest state. Multiply that by all the key swing states, and you can begin to see how large-scale the Big Tech takeover of the 2020 election actually was altogether.

“Elections should be administered by these offices, not by private tech moguls coming in and basically commandeering the machinery of the elections,” DeSantis said on Tuesday, calling the partisanship “totally unacceptable.”

It is unacceptable. And before the next election, more governors and Republican leaders must wake up to the mess that was created in 2020 and refuse to ever accept another sloppy round.

Kylee Zempel is an assistant editor at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter @kyleezempel.

Copyright © 2021 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.