The Louisiana State Legislature passed a constitutional amendment proposal on Thursday that seeks to ban the use of private money in the conduction of elections.
HB 311 stipulates that “[n]o funds, goods, or services donated by a foreign government or a nongovernmental source shall be used to conduct elections unless provided for in the election code and subject to restrictions provided by general law.” Following a series of last-minute legislative procedures, the measure successfully cleared the House (79-19) and Senate (27-12) with the two-thirds majority support required to advance constitutional amendment proposals and will now appear on the ballot for the state’s Oct. 14 elections.
If approved by voters, the amendment would enshrine the ban on private election funding in the Louisiana Constitution.
“With the passage of HB 311, the Republican legislative supermajority in Louisiana took a strong step today towards prohibiting the use of foreign and private funds to pay for any part of our election system,” bill sponsor and GOP Rep. Blake Miguez told The Federalist. “In October, the voters of Louisiana will get a voice in strengthening election integrity in our beloved State.”
Andy Roth, the president of the State Freedom Caucus Network, also celebrated the measure’s passage and highlighted the diligent collaboration between the Louisiana Freedom Caucus and voter integrity groups such as the Election Transparency Initiative and the Association of Mature American Citizens.
“The State Freedom Caucus Network has been working with the Louisiana Freedom Caucus, as well as the Election Integrity Network, to help build local awareness in Louisiana about this important amendment,” Roth told The Federalist. “It is crucial for election integrity in Louisiana to keep Zuckerbucks and foreign money out of the realm of influence in America’s elections.”
Election Transparency Initiative Chair Ken Cuccinelli echoed similar sentiments, saying HB 311 is critical in “letting voters decide whether the ‘Zuckerbucks’ campaign financing scheme should be allowed to pollute Louisiana’s elections.”
“Elections should never be privatized in Louisiana or anywhere else, and we urge voters to ban ‘Zuckerbucks’ once and for all at the polls in October,” Cuccinelli said.
During the 2020 election, nonprofits such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life (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 were administered; among other things, this was done by expanding unsupervised election protocols like mail-in voting and using ballot drop boxes. To make matters worse, the grants were heavily skewed toward Democrat-majority counties, essentially making it a massive, privately funded Democrat get-out-the-vote operation.
Ahead of the 2024 elections, the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence — an $80 million venture funded by left-wing nonprofits to “systematically influence every aspect of election administration” and advance Democrat-backed voting policies in local election offices — is attempting to replicate a similar strategy to that of 2020. In a recent report, the Honest Elections Project and the John Locke Foundation revealed how the Alliance — of which CTCL is a key partner — seeks to provide election offices “scholarships” to cover membership costs, which can then be “converted into ‘credits’ that member offices can use to buy services from CTCL and other Alliance partners.”
In states where “Zuckbucks” are banned or restricted, the Alliance’s strategy is slightly different. During a previous interview with The Federalist, Jason Snead, the executive director of the Honest Elections Project, explained that since election offices in these states aren’t authorized to accept or use private money to conduct elections, groups like CTCL will allow interested offices to “buy their way [into the Alliance] for a relatively small sum.”
This strategy allows “the Alliance to spread its influence even in states where lawmakers have tried to prevent it,” Snead said.
HB 311’s approval by voters would make Louisiana the 26th state to ban or restrict the use of private money in elections.
This article has been updated to include a statement from Election Transparency Initiative Chair Ken Cuccinelli.