Scott Walter’s Oral Testimony on “Zuck Bucks” to House Committee

Scott Walter’s Testimony Before the Committee on House Administration
U.S. House of Representatives
Written Testimony: HTML or PDF
Oral Testimony: Video, text (below), and highlights
Full Committee Hearing (House website)

Oral Testimony (text)

To House Committee on House Administration
Rep. Bryan Steil, Chairman

Scott Walter

President, Capital Research Center
February 7, 2024

Chairman Steil, Ranking Member Morelle, distinguished Members of the Committee, thank you for the honor of testifying. I’m president of the Capital Research Center, which studies how special interests engage in politics, especially through nonprofits.

As people from across the political spectrum know, confidence in our elections needs strengthening. You’re right to single out private funding of election offices, which was a scandal in 2020 and continues in the 2024 cycle.

We at Capital Research Center have published online all our data on private funding of the 2020 election by the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), the main conduit for so-called “Zuck Bucks.”[1] I don’t want to re-litigate the election, just learn from it. A few data high points: first, the percentage of CTCL money that went to jurisdictions Biden won in the battleground states:

Arizona            75%
Pennsylvania   83%
Michigan         86%
Wisconsin       90%
Georgia           94%
Nevada          100%

Mr. Chairman, in your state of Wisconsin, CTCL gave out 188 of its minimum $5,000 dollar grants. It gave out 31 larger grants, three to counties, 28 to cities; 20 of those cities were won by candidate Biden, only eight by candidate Trump. Those 20 Biden cities received 90 percent of CTCL’s dollars in your state. A similar grotesque skewing is seen when we compare per capita spending in those over-$5,000 grants: The average per capita spend in Trump jurisdictions: 55 cents. The average in Biden jurisdictions, $3.75—nearly seven times higher.[2]

No wonder the majority of states now ban or restrict such private funding of election offices.[3] No wonder every single governor who’s tried to thwart his democratically elected legislature’s desire to ban such funding has been a Democrat.[4] No wonder the Wyoming Secretary of State wrote all his county clerks, warning them about CTCL, its desires past and present to influence elections with “misleading tactics,” and its possible funding from foreign sources.[5] In my home state of Virginia, the opposition to such funding was unanimous in the Senate—neither party wanted out-of-state billionaires controlling our elections.

Yet CTCL ignores this widespread opposition to its agenda and turns instead to ever more insidious schemes to influence elections. Its response to criticism is merely cosmetic. The same day newspaper headlines announced Mark Zuckerberg said he’d never repeat his 2020 election funding, CTCL announced an $80 million rebrand of itself as the Alliance for Election Excellence. This latest effort to ensnare local government offices is no less objectionable. The Honest Elections Project has documented the Alliance’s infiltrations of two North Carolina counties, where CTCL aimed to provide in-kind services that may escape existing private funding bans, and also aimed to receive in-kind services from government offices, including data on voting and offices’ internal operations.[6]

More recently, CTCL has been discovered scheming to have local offices seek federal disaster funding from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), presumably because the federal government has even more billions than Mr. Zuckerberg, and because this, too, could circumvent private funding bans while promoting, as one observer put it, “the same sort of technical, data-driven, and activist-led manipulation of the election system in favor of Democrats” that CTCL mounted in 2020.[7]

CTCL will claim it just wants to “help” Americans vote. But consider a Super Bowl analogy. Election offices are the referees of American elections, and the parties are the teams trying to score. If you heard the refs in the Super Bowl were aiming to boost the total points scored, would you feel better about the game’s fairness? What if you learned the refs were receiving money and training from people who previously worked for one team’s offensive coaching staff? Most Americans would say, “Wait a minute. Scoring points is the job of the teams, not the refs.” And if the refs were being influenced by alumni of one team, confidence in the Super Bowl would plummet.

Well, the people who founded and still run CTCL came from a group the Washington Post gushed was, “the Democratic Party’s Hogwarts for digital wizardry.”[8] Unknown during 2020, CTCL also received $25 million, on top of Zuckerberg’s millions, from the Democratic Party’s biggest “dark money” network, run by Arabella Advisors.[9]

I don’t want either party’s operatives playing the refs. And I know Americans won’t be confident in elections as long as this scam continues.


[1] See Parker Thayer and Hayden Ludwig, “Shining a Light on Zuck Bucks in the 2020 Battleground States,” Capital Research Center, January 18, 2022, https://capitalresearch.org/article/shining-a-light-on-zuck-bucks-in-key-states/.

[2] Ibid.

[3] See Sarah Lee, Jon Rodeback, and Hayden Ludwig, “States Banning or Restricting ‘Zuck Bucks,’” Capital Research Center, February 2, 2024, https://capitalresearch.org/article/states-banning-zuck-bucks/.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Chuck Gray, “Re: Private Funding of Election Administration,” Office of the Wyoming Secretary of State, August 10, 2023, https://sos.wyo.gov/Media/2023/Letter_re-Private-Funding-of-Election-Administration_8-10-2023.pdf.

[6] https://www.honestelections.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/HEP_Locke_Alliance-for-Election-Excellence-Report-1.pdf

[7] William Doyle, “Infamous ‘Zuckbucks’ Group Tries to Election-Meddle Again—This Time with Federal Tax Dollars,” The Federalist, January 19, 2024, https://thefederalist.com/2024/01/19/infamous-zuckbucks-group-tries-to-election-meddle-again-this-time-with-federal-tax-dollars/.

[8] Hayden Ludwig, “The New New Organizing Institute,” Capital Research Center, January 14, 2021,


[9] InfluenceWatch, “Center for Tech and Civic Life,” https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/center-for-tech-and-civic-life/.

Scott Walter

Scott Walter is president of Capital Research Center. He served in the George W. Bush Administration as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and was vice president at…
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