Legal Loopholes and 'Zuckerbucks': Study Explains How Facebook’s CEO ‘Bought’ the 2020 Election
06:13 GMT 14.10.2021 (Updated: 18:23 GMT 03.11.2022)
The 2020 presidential race was a tight one, and Democrat Joe Biden’s narrow election victory means that a relatively small number of votes shifting a different way could have produced a different outcome. Donald Trump has maintained that the election was “rigged” to favour his rival and “stolen” from him.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg funneled hundreds of millions of dollars during the 2020 election into nominally nonpartisan nonprofit organisations that manipulated election-office funding to tip the scales in favour of the Democratic vote, according to a study
published by The Federalist.
Analysis carried out by William Doyle, Ph.D, principal researcher at Caesar Rodney Election Research Institute in Irving, Texas, shows the private resource funding targeted key battleground states to increase then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s vote margin against his rival, Republican Donald Trump.
It was in states like Georgia, where Biden won by 12,000 votes, and Arizona, where he won by 10,000, that the massive additional resources are suggested as having propelled the Democrat to victory. The report
claims that it was not a case of traditional campaign finance or lobbying, but a clever manipulation of “legal loopholes” that likely allowed the 2020 election to be “bought” by one of the world’s richest men.
Targeted Partisan Funding in Battleground States
According to William Doyle and his team, private funding of election administration is what markedly sets the 2020 November presidential campaign apart from all previous ones. Two nonprofits funded by Mark Zuckerberg - The Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) and The Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), ostensibly transferred $419.5 million of the Facebook CEO’s private resources into local government elections offices.
This infiltration, purportedly carried out at the city and county level, allowed the offices to be wielded as a “platform” in Democratic voter areas. The methods used to drum up the Dem vote are described
as ranging from a plethora of administrative practices and data-sharing agreements to direct outreach campaigns in key swing states.
As an example of the latter, the report says that the nonprofits funded self-described “vote navigators” in Wisconsin. These people were tasked to “assist voters, potentially at their front doors, to answer questions, assist in ballot curing … and witness absentee ballot signatures”. Furthermore, a staffing agency affiliated with political leader, voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, called “Happy Faces”, was ostensibly set up temporarily to count the votes on election night in Fulton County, Georgia.
Under the guise of supposedly providing assistance for voting during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Technology and Civic Life is reported to have coordinated with local governments to get out the votes in Democratic areas.
The analysis enumerates ways the CTCL achieved its goal by resorting to nonprofit organisations, social-media platforms and social-media election influencers. These included promotion of universal mail-in voting – something that Donald Trump had warned from the outset as “catastrophic” and fraught with election irregularities
Furthermore, the funding into election offices via the nonprofits purportedly worked towards extending deadlines that favoured mail-in over in-person voting
. This is believed to have enabled “ballot curing”, when hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots could be rejected because of “mistakes”, such as missing or mismatched signatures. Activist groups rushed to help voters fix — or "cure" — their ballots before it was too late, so they could be counted. Expensive bulk mailings were also believed to have been part of the “community outreach” programs thus funded.
Illegal ballot harvesting was reportedly enabled
by CTCL via proliferation of unmonitored private drop boxes as part of the novel “mail-in ballot electioneering.” The nonprofit CTCL channelled resources, according to the study, to boost numbers of temporary poll workers as part of the covert infiltration of election offices by paid Democratic Party activists.
The report claims that staggering sums of additional money poured into elections offices in Democrat-voting areas. With the two above-mentioned private nonprofits responsible for an 85 percent boost in total additional election funding concentrated in heavily Democratic municipalities.
Grants with ‘Strings Attached’
CTCL is shown to have provided 25 grants worth $1 million or larger to recipient cities and counties in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. Out of these, 23 went to areas that Joe Biden
won in the 2020 presidential election.
Analysis carried out by the Doyle-led team says CTCL funds increased Democratic-voting Green Bay resources to $47 per voter, while rural areas still registered $4 per voter funding. Disparities of this nature, claims the report, are apparent in areas such as Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Flint, Mich., Dallas, Houston and other cities – recipients of CTCL money.
The analysis offers a case study
of battleground state – Texas, with Democratic counties shown as having received the highest per-capita levels of CTCL spending. Listed as a Republican voter area, Tarrant County flipped Democrat in 2020. The team also offered its preliminary results in Georgia and Wisconsin, that suggested a similar impact on Biden’s vote margin derivative from CTCL spending.
In conclusion, the study underscores that use of private organisations, lacking in administrative and financial transparency and not subject to the same rules and checks that public employees and institutions are, means that they cannot be monitored via open-records requests.
The analysis shows that a massive influx of private funds enabled a “shadow” election system to be set in place during the 2020 presidential election. It is claimed to have systematically favoured Democratic voters over Republican voters from “deep inside” the election system.
According to the authors of the report, the “structural bias” that permeated the 2020 election was likely what allowed Joe Biden to secure an Electoral College triumph. Looking ahead, after conclusion of further state-by-state analysis, the project intends to offer a “counterfactual electoral map”, reflecting how the 2020 election results would have looked without the CTCL/CEIR $419.5 million.
The bombshell report has triggered outrage from the GOP, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis saying that election reform law had “banned Zuckerbucks” in this state.
“So, Zuckerberg, he spent over $400 million through these, quote, nonprofits to, quote, help with election administration. But what they would do is they would require certain things to be done like mass mail balloting, ballot harvesting, and they would focus on partisan voter turnout, basically. That was totally unacceptable,” he stated at a press conference on Tuesday.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) questioned the legality of Mark Zuckerberg’s “partisan” 2020 election spending.
“While we still don’t know all that happened, public reporting on his influence over the 2020 elections in Green Bay and other Democrat strongholds raises enough suspicion,” Johnson was quoted by The Post as saying.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) went on Twitter to query whether the elections were “for sale?” Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos went even further, commissioning an investigation into the work funded by Zuckerberg and his wife in five cities of Wisconsin.
This comes as earlier this year, analysis by the conservative Foundation for Government Accountability discovered that in the key swing state of Georgia, an estimated $29 million of the Facebook CEO’s money was funnelled into counties later won by Biden.
In response to the report
, Zuckerberg spokesman Ben LaBolt acknowledged donations worth $350 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life and $69.5 million to the Center for Election Innovation and Research.
“CTCL issued an open call to local jurisdictions across the country and provided funding for all jurisdictions that applied. Nearly 2,500 election jurisdictions from 49 states applied for and received funds, including urban, suburban, rural, and exurban counties. While Mark and Priscilla provided an overall grant to CTCL [to] ensure funding was available, they did not participate in the process to determine which jurisdictions received funds, and as a [nonprofit organisation] CTCL is prohibited from engaging in partisan activities,” said the spokesman.