Deception & Misdirection

More of Zuckerberg’s Election Fund

Leftist mega-donor Mark Zuckerberg channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to the infamous Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) prior to the 2020 election through a major pass-through used almost exclusively by Bay Area billionaires, new filings reveal.

The Mountain View, California-based Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) is one of the largest pass-through funders in the world, funneling over $2.6 billion to a variety of nonprofits last year, many of them on the professional left.

While the group is ostensibly dedicated to helping local residents and causes in the San Francisco Bay Area—hence the name “community foundation”—recent reporting in these pages has revealed a staggering, nearly-$12 billion money flow from SVCF since 2011 to hardened political groups aiming to create a permanent Democratic majority in Congress and state legislatures. Far from encouraging genuine philanthropy, this is politics by any other name. Yet, few have heard of this giant.

It may as well be considered an arm of the newly minted Zuckerberg political empire, since the Facebook founder is almost certainly SVCF’s biggest donor, gifting it some $2 billion in the last decade.

SVCF donated a staggering $328 million grant to CTCL for “community development” and another $69.5 million to the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) for “civil participation [sic]”—the foundation’s second and third largest grants that year, respectively.

Those figures also match sums reported by the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, the main philanthropy of Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan; yet not revealed is how the money was channeled through SVCF to political causes in the months leading up to the 2020 election.

CTCL distributed these “Zuck Bucks” to thousands of county and city elections officials across America as COVID-19 “relief funds,” claiming its intent was nonpartisan and merely meant to encourage safe voting in an underfunded election—never mind the $400 million Congress allocated to election infrastructure in the CARES Act. CEIR, which provides election data friendly to the left, largely focused its grants on secretaries of state for “urgent voter education assistance” in 23 states.

Apparently, only a small fraction of CTCL’s grants paid for personal protective equipment (PPE). A December 2020 NPR news story, citing an analysis by American Public Media that examined how four major jurisdictions used their grants, reported they spend between 2.1 percent and 5.9 percent of their grants on PPE. A June 2021 letter from House Republicans said, “the current data available shows that less than one percent of funds were spent on personal protective equipment” (presumably calculated from a much larger pool of CTCL grants). Regardless, most of the remaining grant money went to bolstering the unprecedented tide of mail-in ballots that made the 2020 election the least secure in modern American history. No wonder CTCL “declined repeated interview requests from APM Reports to discuss the funding and how it was used.” [Editor’s note 1/24/2022: This paragraph was rewritten and expanded to include the AMP Reports data.]

My colleagues and I have spent the last year tracing over $112 million in Zuck Bucks—one-third of Zuckerberg’s grant—flowing to just 9 battleground states: Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Nevada.

Zuck Bucks paid for private drop-boxes to bypass the U.S. Postal Service in Philadelphia and elsewhere, skirting public oversight in order to catch more mail-in ballots as encouraged by Democrats’ last-minute changes to election laws and the left’s array of vote-by-mail activist groups.

In Wisconsin, CTCL’s grant to Green Bay caused the left-leaning city to effectively “take over” the county’s election functions—working with “five major Democratic base cities” across the Badger State to aid Democrats.

Our findings—and those of other watchdog groups like the Foundation for Government Accountability, the Rodney Institute, and Americans for Public Trust—prove that CTCL pumped up turnout in key Democratic cities in precisely the places that put Joe Biden over the edge and into the White House.

And little wonder—CTCL was founded by the Democratic campaign strategist whose last gig was training left-wing activists for the now-defunct New Organization Institute, which the Washington Post once hailed as “the Democratic Party’s Hogwarts for digital wizardry.”

Far from merely encouraging Americans in their civic duties, CTCL worked as an arm of the Democratic Party, whose efforts to privatize the 2020 election were so blatantly partisan they spurred dozens of states to overhaul their election integrity laws in 2021.

All of this was enabled by one so-called “community foundation,” in reality a private plaything for a handful of social engineering elites—11 of whom provided a whopping 70 percent of the foundation’s contributions in 2019.

If that sounds hypocritical, that’s because you aren’t a citizen of the world.


This article originally appeared in the American Conservative on December 17, 2021.


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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