Partisan interference in elections undermines Americans’ confidence in the electoral process, several witnesses — including Federalist Editor-in-Chief Mollie Hemingway — said during a House committee hearing on Wednesday.
“The American system of self-governance is under attack,” Hemingway said. “We have allowed the private takeover of government election offices by partisan oligarchs and their armies of activists who use those offices and their authorities to tilt the election toward favored candidates.”
Titled, “American Confidence in Elections: Confronting Zuckerbucks, Private Funding of Election Administration,” the hearing before the Committee on House Administration mainly focused on private actors’ interference in the 2020 and 2024 elections to the benefit of Joe Biden and the Democrat Party. During the 2020 contest, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg poured hundreds of millions of dollars into left-wing nonprofits such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL).
While Zuckerberg’s donations to CTCL were marketed as a good-faith initiative to ensure Covid didn’t disrupt local election administration, House Republicans later discovered that less than 1 percent of CTCL’s 2020 funds were spent on personal protective equipment. In fact, the “Zuckbucks” dumped into local election offices by CTCL were primarily used to change how elections were administered; among other things, this was done by expanding unsupervised election protocols like mail-in voting and the use of ballot drop boxes.
During Wednesday’s hearing, House Republicans and witnesses such as Capital Research Center President Scott Walter highlighted how these grants were heavily skewed toward Democrat-majority counties, essentially making it a massive, privately funded Democrat get-out-the-vote operation. In Wisconsin, for example, CTCL gave 31 grants “above the $5,000 minimum” to cities and towns during the 2020 election, with three of these grants going to counties and 28 given to cities. Of those 28 cities, only eight were “won by [Donald] Trump, while 20 were won by Biden.”
These 20 cities “received $9 million or 90 percent of all CTCL funds in Wisconsin,” according to the Capital Research Center.
“Election offices are the referees of American elections, and the parties are the teams trying to score. If you heard the refs in the Super Bowl were aiming to boost the total points scored, would you feel better about the game’s fairness? What if you learned the refs were receiving money and training from people who previously worked for one team’s offensive coaching staff?” Walter asked. “I don’t want either party’s operatives playing the refs, and I know Americans won’t be confident in elections as long as this scam continues.”
Hemingway similarly noted the partisan distribution of “Zuckbucks” funding, specifically underscoring CTCL’s efforts to flip battleground states such as Georgia in Biden’s favor. While Trump won Georgia by 5.1 points in the 2016 contest, Biden won the state by 0.3 points in 2020.
“In addition to [Georgia] getting the largest percentage of funding of any state, you look at it on a county-by-county basis, and … Democrat-voting counties got dramatically more funding than the Republican-based counties,” Hemingway said. “The targeting was in areas where [Democrats] thought they could get the most votes.”
As The Federalist previously reported, data analysts have since identified potentially illegal votes cast in Georgia’s 2020 election that — in total — appear to exceed Biden’s margin of victory.
While 27 states have since passed “Zuckbucks” bans or restrictions on the use of private money in elections, that hasn’t stopped CTCL from attempting to interfere in the 2024 elections. In April 2022, CTCL launched the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, an $80 million venture designed to “systematically influence every aspect of election administration” and advance Democrat-backed voting policies in local election offices. To exert its influence in states where “Zuckbucks” are prohibited, the Alliance charges prospective election offices a low entry fee, effectively allowing the coalition to exert its influence while skirting the letter of existing law.
Instead of acknowledging the harm partisan interference by private actors has on voters’ confidence in the U.S. elections system, House Democrats used a significant portion of their time dismissing such concerns. During his opening statement, for example, ranking member and Rep. Joseph Morelle, D-N.Y., mischaracterized Zuckerberg’s 2020 election interference as nothing more than “philanthropic assistance” designed to “enhance the efficiency and security” of elections, and further smeared concerns about such interference as “election denialism.”
Democrat Reps. Terri Sewell of Alabama and Norma Torres of California attacked Republicans’ witnesses, including Hemingway. Sewell accused the witnesses of being affiliated with “extreme organizations” that are partaking in an “unrelenting assault” on voting rights. She also accused The Federalist of making “numerous false claims of widespread voter fraud” but provided no evidence to back up her assertion.
Meanwhile, Torres claimed Republicans’ witnesses had no “credibility.”
When given the opportunity to respond to Democrats’ smears, Hemingway noted that Sewell’s “embrace of censorship and attacks on journalism and journalists” were “self-discrediting,” and debunked Sewell and Torres’ claims and insinuations that election integrity suppresses nonwhite voters. The Federalist editor-in-chief specifically highlighted the increased voter participation during Georgia’s 2022 elections after the state passed a “mild” election reform bill in 2021.
That law — which contained commonsense provisions like voter ID requirements for absentee voting — came under attack from Democrats such as Biden, who grossly labeled SB 202 “Jim Crow on steroids” and called on Major League Baseball to pull its All-Star events out of Georgia. MLB ultimately acquiesced to the president’s demands, moving the game to Colorado and costing Georgia’s economy an estimated $100 million in lost revenue. The league recently announced its plans to move its All-Star events back to Atlanta in 2025 but offered no apology for its dishonest smears.
Contrary to Democrats’ false claims, a poll conducted after Georgia’s 2022 midterms revealed that zero percent of black Georgia voters said they had a “poor” experience voting in the contest.
“Caring about election integrity is an important part of our entire self-governance system. We need to be sure that people who are voting are legal and eligible to vote,” Hemingway said. “When you have people who are voting who [are not authorized to vote], it actually disenfranchises legal and eligible voters.”
Hemingway also noted how — despite their hyperbolic attacks against conservatives concerned about questionably-run elections election — Democrats regularly undermined the credibility of the 2016 election by pushing the debunked Trump-Russia collusion hoax.
“If people truly care about conspiracies with elections, I hope that the people on the other side of the aisle … cared as much about the false and dangerous conspiracy theory that Donald Trump stole the  election by conspiring with Russia, which was something that was embraced by powerful people throughout that party,” Hemingway said. “I hope that the people on this committee renounce that because that caused a lot of damage and problems for our country.”