Organization Trends

New York Times Op-Ed Admits Zuck Bucks Boosted Democrats in 2020

With each passing week, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the 2020 election was assuredly not “the most secure in American history.”

That claim was ironically echoed by the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL), a shadowy nonprofit my colleagues and I at the Capital Research Center have spent the past 15 months exposing. CTCL repackaged at least $328 million from billionaire Mark Zuckerberg as COVID-19 “relief” grants to thousands of local elections offices. The biggest grants went to left-leaning cities in battleground states, boosting Democratic voter turnout to unheard-of levels and helping elect Joe Biden.

Georgia best illustrates this lopsided spending: Statewide, CTCL grants averaged $1.41 per capita in counties Trump won and $5.33 per capita in Biden counties, most of them in vote-rich Atlanta. A staggering 94 percent of CTCL grant money in the Peach State went to counties that voted for Biden, helping to net him an additional 510,000 votes over 2016 Democratic turnout.

If someone wanted to use private money to flip Georgia blue in 2020, they would have done exactly what CTCL did. Far from merely helping Americans perform their civic duty during an epidemic, the tax-exempt and legally nonpartisan CTCL is as partisan as they come.

Late to the Story

The Left has spent a year ignoring the threat of Zuck bucks to our elections. But now—surprise, surprise—the public can add the Gray Lady to the list of groups admitting Zuck bucks meddled in the 2020 election.

Kudos to Times contributor Christopher Caldwell for pointing out the irony of the Left’s about-face from abolishing to defending billionaires, since they’re a “larger potential threat to our democracy” than any Trump supporter attending the January 6 rally. Moreover, CTCL’s “relief funds” weren’t necessary to fill sagging budgets given that Congress allocated a whopping $400 million to election infrastructure in the 2020 CARES Act.

He concludes: “It is hard to imagine that anyone worried about the role of private wealth in prisons or military logistics or public schools would welcome such a role in elections.”

Caldwell’s op-ed isn’t an endorsement by the Times itself (I wouldn’t hold my breath for one), but it’s a terrific victory for the countless Americans fighting for election integrity. It proves that the Left is losing the battle against truth.

State Bans and Vetoes

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board has also demanded an end to “Zuck bucks” nationwide. “More than a year [after the 2020 election], we’re still getting information about the huge private money that underwrote official government voting efforts in 49 states,” opined the editorial board. “Much is still unknown, but lawmakers already know enough to ban this practice.”

To date, 10 states have prohibited or restricted Zuck bucks in future elections. Georgia was among the first. Virginia is poised to become number 11 after its Democratic-controlled Senate unanimously passed a ban in late January. They’ve gotten the memo.

Yet six Democratic governors have vetoed similar restrictions, including bright-red Louisiana, up-for-grabs North Carolina, and the purple-trending-red Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Alarmingly, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) even claimed in his veto that banning Zuck bucks would somehow harm “transparency” and block “additional resources” for county elections offices.

This is nonsense. If local budgets are tight, revise them. Turning to private donors will only invite undue partisan influence and further divide the country. Worse, it risks foreign meddling. Unlike political campaigns, there are no restrictions on non-citizens donating to 501(c)(3) charities like CTCL. Who would ever trust election outcomes again?

Most people understand this. As the country moves to stop Zuck bucks from harming future elections, some Democrats are too busy doing Zuckerberg’s dirty work. Does the party of Big Government and “Eat the Rich” intend to rely on billionaires to also privately fund elections?

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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