Did you know Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, in partnership with Facebook and Google spent over $4 million on Iowa’s election system in 2020? Yes, he did. ZuckBucks came to 63 counties in Iowa.
It wasn’t just helping their favored candidates or supporting their favorite causes through advertising, mailing, etc. as you would expect from a private group. That would be a legitimate function of a private group as everyone has the right to support the candidate or cause they believe in.
It was spent on selected areas of the state to help administrate the election. It was given directly to election officials who oversee elections in Iowa. Administrating the election is a responsibility of the taxpayers and they pay for it. Private groups should not be getting involved in this responsibility. In fact, they should be prohibited from doing so. This is an issue that will be looked at in election integrity proposals this year.
How did this happen: Zuckerberg, Facebook & Google largely fund a non-profit called the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL). According to influencewatch.org, “CTCL pushes for left-of-center voting policies and election administration. It has a wide reach into local elections offices across the nation and is funded by many left-of-center funding organizations.”
CTCL posts that their organization is to aid in modernizing election technology, educating election officials, and providing ballot and candidate data. While describing their work in a non-partisan fashion, all 3 founders were staff at the New Organizing Institute, a left-leaning organization that provided data, digital, and other trainings to progressive campaigns and organizers.
In Wisconsin: A former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, at the behest of the Wisconsin legislature, is investigating election integrity issues in Wisconsin’s 2020 election. He has said that money from CTCL went to massive get-out-the-vote operations from city election offices in the five largest and most Democratic cities in Wisconsin: Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Racine, and Kenosha. He says city and election officials are engaged in a large stonewalling effort against his investigation. As Wisconsin was a battleground state in 2020, the investigation raises questions about election outcomes, access to voter information, and influence of those who donated the money.
In Iowa: According to Capital Research Center, which has dug through IRS filings by CTCL, the majority of counties that received grants from CTCL voted for Biden for president. The amounts of money per voter in these counties also skews towards counties that voted for Biden. Counties that voted for Biden received an overage of $4.41 per registered voter, compared to counties that supported Trump which received an average of 91 cents per registered voter. Polk County (Des Moines) received $6.01 per registered voter, Linn County (Cedar Rapids) received $4.63 per registered voter, and Johnson County (Iowa City) received $3.43 per registered voter.
This pattern of Biden counties receiving more CTCL money per registered voter than Trump counties is repeated in other battleground states, such as Pennsylvania and Arizona.
Iowa has been pro-active regarding election integrity and security for years and come behind after every election to plug any loopholes that surfaced during that election. The 2020 election was no different; we came behind with a law in 2021 to plug the loopholes we found as well as address mistakes made in other states to ensure they don’t happen here. And now that what CTCL has done has become known, we should come behind and prohibit private money from being used to fund the administering of our elections.