Facebook’s meddling in the last year’s election is widely known–from censoring the Hunter Biden scandal to restricting “political content” on its system to ultimately banning President Trump from the platform. Since nearly 80 percent of Facebook employee and PAC donations went to Democrats, conservatives have ample reason to question the motives behind these controversial decisions.
But even more significant election interference may have come not from the platform itself but from the bank account of its billionaire founder. New data and reports show that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg poured hundreds of millions of dollars directly into the coffers of local election offices around the country.
The California tech billionaire has been known to fund left-leaning political priorities in the past–having founded a political advocacy group to promote more permissive immigration policies, for example.
But what happened in 2020 may be the most overt and influential politicking the tech mogul has ever conducted, despite his efforts to obscure the nature of the donations. Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, spent nearly $400 million on election activities by funneling it through a non-profit run by a former Obama Foundation Fellow.
The funds were purportedly to help local election officials purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other materials that election offices might need to carry out the vote safely during the COVID pandemic.
Instead, what really happened was less about protective equipment and more about political activism.
The funds, doled out with virtually no oversight by state legislatures, governors, or election boards, were used extensively for get-out-the-vote type activities that are typically done by political parties, not election officials.
While privately donated money given to campaigns and candidates has been and continues to be heavily regulated across the country, this new method of spending on elections was unregulated, unchecked, and completely unprecedented.
These “Zuckerbucks,” as some have called the donations, were not distributed evenly across states or even cities within those states. Instead, they went heavily to counties and cities where getting out the vote would benefit then-candidate Joe Biden.
One report shows that 92 percent of the funds in Pennsylvania went to counties that Joe Biden ultimately won.
Shockingly, an election official in Milwaukee resigned, citing concerns about the pressure that came with the money to change election processes.
What was the nature of that pressure? What changes was Zuckerberg pushing? Exactly how much money was given out? How much was spent? How much still remains unspent? And what exactly was it spent on?
These questions remain unanswered and must be investigated by state legislatures and Congressional Republicans.
Unlike the transparency and reporting required by law with other campaign contributions, there were no such rules for Zuckerbucks.
In one notable exception, the Louisiana legislature passed a bill in the fall of 2020 banning this type of gift from being given to election officials. Although it was vetoed, no Zuckerberg funds were given to Louisiana thanks to the concerted efforts of other statewide elected officials.
Now, many other states around the country have taken notice of this loophole, and Republicans in their state legislatures are taking action to make sure such massive private expenditures on public elections never happen again.
As reported earlier this week, Arizona recently passed a bill, just signed into law by Republican Governor Doug Ducey, that would prevent private money from going directly to election officials. Georgia passed a similar law, and related legislation is being considered in Florida, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin, and several other states.
While many Democrats decry millionaires and billionaires throwing around their money to influence elections, few objected when the fourth richest man in the U.S. spent an unprecedented sum on last year’s election. This should tell us everything we need to know about the true purpose of Democrat calls for “campaign finance reform.” Their purpose is not to “get money out of politics”–it’s to defund their political opponents while raking in as much money as possible for their own agenda.
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