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Congress Must Stop The Big Corporate Election Interference It Didn’t In 2020

Congress should continue its efforts to shed light on major election schemes and work with states to help stop them.

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In a hearing earlier this month, the House Administration Committee deftly exposed the effect “Zuckbucks” had on the 2020 election — and the threat it still poses in 2024. 

In 2020, Mark Zuckerberg — one of the richest people in the world — strategically funneled more than $400 million into specific election offices around the country, which ultimately had a measurable effect on the outcomes. Through this “Zuckbucks” scandal, Zuckerberg was able to put his thumb on the scale of the 2020 election. His method is less direct when compared to other leftist billionaires. It is also a precursor to the way Joe Biden and his federal bureaucracy lackeys are plotting to influence the 2024 election.

In her testimony before the committee, Federalist Editor-in-Chief Mollie Hemmingway aptly described Zuckbucks as a “private takeover of government election offices by partisan oligarchs and their armies of activists.” Chairman Bryan Steil, R-Wis., similarly noted the high stakes, saying, “Americans deserve to have confidence in our elections. Which means elections should be free from undue private influence.”

Recognizing this fact, 27 states have banned or restricted Zuckbucks, many through bipartisan efforts. Legislatures in Michigan and Wisconsin passed similar bans as well, only to have them vetoed by their Democrat governors. This April, Wisconsin voters will have the chance to overrule that veto through a constitutional amendment. 

Wisconsin, as a key battleground state, is an important case study in the fight against outside influence. 

In Racine, Wisconsin, three Zuckerberg-funded grants through the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) awarded the city just under $1.7 million for the 2020 election — an amount more than four times the city’s entire election budget of less than $410,000. That’s an extra $48 for every registered voter in Racine. 

Where did the money go? According to CTCL grant reports, the city used it to “increase absentee voting” and “dramatically expand strategic voter education and outreach.” The city even purchased a mobile election vehicle — which was deployed for the 2022 election — with grant dollars that weren’t expended by Election Day. Where did this “voting van” focus its efforts? You guessed it: primarily in Democrat strongholds. This led to a recent court ruling that found this use of the van to be unauthorized under Wisconsin law.

In Green Bay, the link between CTCL and election operations went even deeper. Green Bay raked in more than $1 million in grants, a staggering 331 percent increase to its election budget. The group also recommended an election worker from New York to provide on-the-ground coaching to local officials and help with planning and carrying out the administration of the election. That November, CTCL staffers collected absentee ballots, supervised the counting of ballots, and even had access to the voting machines before Election Day. 

Across the country, the true purpose of these Zuckbucks grants — the targeted turnout in battleground states of voters deemed more likely to vote Democrat — was made crystal clear.

For example, Georgia, another key battleground state, is home to approximately 3 percent of the nation’s population. Despite that, the state was awarded nearly 9 percent of total Zuckbucks grants. Of the six Georgia counties that received more than $1 million in Zuckbucks funding, all six were won by Hilary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020. Meanwhile, nine of the 10 highest recipient counties in Georgia were won by both Clinton and Biden. Clearly, money was funneled disproportionately into Democrat strongholds, and the result was more votes for Biden than he would have otherwise received. In a state like Georgia, where 12,000 votes can be the difference between winning and losing, even minimal election interference could significantly affect the results.

As troubling as these examples are, an even bigger threat is looming in 2024: “Bidenbucks.” Instead of “partisan oligarchs and their armies of activists” trying to take over state-run elections, it’s President Biden and his political appointees. And instead of $400 million in Zuckbucks funding, it’s the unlimited resources and reach of federal executive branch agencies and their offices located in every state. 

In 2021, adopting a plan crafted by a well-funded, left-wing organization headquartered in New York, Biden issued Executive Order (EO) 14019, also known as “Bidenbucks.” The order launched a massive get-out-the-vote effort designed to benefit the left and paid for by all federal taxpayers. It creates new partnerships between federal agencies led by Biden’s political appointees and third-party groups allied with the current president and his political party. 

In short, Bidenbucks is Zuckbucks on steroids, super-charging the influence of the few over the many and carrying out the mission of keeping the left in power. In light of Biden’s diminishing approval rating and overall competency, and with inflation punching consumers in the gut every time they check out at the grocery store, the administration is desperate to stay in power — and evade electoral accountability.

Fortunately, Congress has taken notice. Sen. Ted Budd, R-N.C., with the support of other Republican lawmakers, has introduced the Promoting Free and Fair Elections Act, which would ban federal agencies from putting their finger on the scale with voter drives and targeted voter registration efforts carried out in collaboration with these third-party groups.

Congress has held multiple hearings addressing the Zuckbucks issue, and back in November, it held a hearing at which our organization, the Foundation for Government Accountability, testified to warn lawmakers of the ongoing threat that Zuckbucks and Bidenbucks pose to election integrity. 

Congress should continue its efforts to shed light on both of these election schemes and work with states to help stop them.

With the 2024 election fast approaching, states and the federal government have a responsibility to protect our free and fair elections. The American people deserve nothing less. 


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