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Mark Zuckerberg’s Partisan Use of Charities

The billionaire’s election funding disproportionately went to Democratic-leaning jurisdictions in swing states.

On Friday, January 13, the Wall Street Journal published a letter to the editor from Hayden Ludwig, senior investigative researcher at the Capital Research Center, correcting a misunderstanding about “Zuck bucks” and Mark Zuckerberg’s role in the 2020 election:

The Cato Institute’s Robert Levy is right to defend free speech and criticize campaign finance reforms that burden donors unreasonably (“Debating Mark Zuckerberg’s Role in Elections,” Letters, Jan. 7). But he misunderstands the problem with Mr. Zuckerberg’s election funding.

He seems to argue that election officials should not spend donors’ contributions “in a politically discriminatory manner” but donors should be able to contribute to government election offices however they like. The problem is Mr. Zuckerberg’s apparently partisan use of charities, rather than political groups, for his donations. The IRS states that such groups “are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening” in any candidate’s campaign. Charities are forbidden even seemingly benign “voter education or registration activities” if the work has “the effect of favoring a candidate.”

The Capital Research Center’s analysis, cited in the editorial (“Zuckerbucks Shouldn’t Pay for Elections,” Jan. 4) that prompted Mr. Levy’s letter, documents how Mr. Zuckerberg’s bucks disproportionately funded election officials in Democratic-leaning jurisdictions in swing states. The Journal’s editorial board is right: “This isn’t how elections should be run.” And abuses of charities should be punished.


Hayden Ludwig
Capital Research Center

This letter was published in the Wall Street Journal on January 13, 2022.

Hayden Ludwig

Hayden Ludwig is the Director of Policy Research at Restoration of America. He was formerly Senior Investigative Researcher at Capital Research Center. Ludwig is a native of Orange County, California,…
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