Newly obtained records reveal that Boone County, Missouri, used taxpayer dollars to join a coalition of left-wing nonprofits that employ private money to influence election operations in local election offices throughout the country.
Through a series of public records requests, the Honest Elections Project discovered that Boone County Clerk Brianna Lennon paid a membership fee of $1,600 to the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, an $80 million venture by left-wing nonprofit groups to “systematically influence every aspect of election administration” and advance Democrat-backed voting policies in local election offices. Notably, a majority of Boone County voters supported Joe Biden over Donald Trump in the 2020 election (54.9 to 42.4 percent).
Launched last year, the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence is comprised of left-wing nonprofits such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL). During the 2020 election, groups like CTCL received hundreds of millions of dollars from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. These “Zuckbucks” were poured into local election offices in battleground states around the country to change how elections are administered, such as by expanding unsecure election protocols like mail-in voting and the use of ballot drop boxes. To make matters worse, the grants were heavily skewed towards Democrat-majority counties, essentially making it a massive Democrat get-out-the-vote operation.
Leading up to the 2020 contest, CTCL distributed roughly $6.8 million “Zuckbucks” to local election offices in Missouri. In response, state Republicans passed HB 1878, which stipulates that “neither the state of Missouri nor any political subdivision thereof that conducts elections shall receive or expend private moneys, excluding in-kind donations, for preparing, administering, or conducting an election, including registering voters.”
To replicate CTCL’s strategy ahead of the 2024 elections, the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence is attempting to skirt existing “Zuckbucks” bans by providing election offices with “scholarships” to cover Alliance membership costs. These scholarships are then “instantly converted into ‘credits’ that member offices can use to buy services from CTCL and other Alliance partners.”
In Georgia — where lawmakers adopted a law prohibiting private election funding two years ago — DeKalb County officials attempted to violate the spirit of the state’s “Zuckbucks” ban by accepting a $2 million grant from the Alliance. To avoid explicitly breaking the law, DeKalb officials used a loophole in the statute by having their finance department apply for the funds instead of the county’s election board. The Georgia Senate has since passed a measure that, if approved by the House and signed into law, would tighten up the language in the state’s “Zuckbucks” ban and require DeKalb to return the money to the Alliance.
While there’s currently no evidence to suggest Boone County has accepted private money from the Alliance or its partners, Honest Elections Project Executive Director Jason Snead says that the locality’s lack of transparency in using taxpayer dollars to join the coalition is concerning.
“While all of the other offices that have joined, at least the ones that we’re aware of, have been very public in joining, I have not seen anything pushed out from Boone County yet,” Snead told The Heartlander. “They just spent $1,600 in taxpayer funds to join a highly partisan left-wing organization, and they haven’t told the public that they’re doing this.”
In a statement provided to The Federalist, Snead explained that since Missouri prohibits local election offices from accepting private funding, Boone County essentially “bought their way” into the Alliance.
“This is precisely why CTCL ‘pivoted’ (their characterization) from their original model to a fee-based membership model,” he said. “For jurisdictions that are permitted to receive grants, those fees are effectively waived. But jurisdictions that cannot receive private grants can still buy their way in for a relatively small sum, allowing the Alliance to spread its influence even in states where lawmakers have tried to prevent it.”
The Missouri secretary of state’s office did not respond to The Federalist’s request for comment on whether it plans to investigate Boone County for its decision to join the Alliance.