Even after conservative groups sued to stop a project bankrolled by Mark Zuckerberg to fund government election processes across the country, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan put more money into the effort, in what the tech group behind it called a “rejection of the legal challenges.”
Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, and Chan first contributed $250 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life in early September to boost resources for local election officials, such as additional polling places and ballot drop boxes. Critics contended the money primarily went to heavily Democratic areas in battleground states in an effort to tilt the balance. Further, they also noted the political leanings of the tech group. Thus far, the tech group has won in court.
Aside from Zuckerberg and his spouse, key donors to the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) have been mostly left-of-center funders such as the Skoll Foundation, the Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, according to the Capital Research Center, a conservative-leaning investigative group that monitors nonprofits.
The Chicago-based CTCL was founded in 2012 by Tiana Epps-Johnson – the executive director – Donny Bridges and Whitney May. The three previously had worked together at the New Organizing Institute (NOI), which The Washington Post referred to as “the Democratic Party’s Hogwarts of digital wizardry.” The NOI executive director, Ethan Roeder, led data programs for President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.
Four federal lawsuits were filed in late September by Michigan’s Election Integrity Fund, by the Wisconsin Voters’ Alliance, by the Minnesota Voters’ Alliance, and by two Pennsylvania congressional candidates and several state house members. The lawsuits contend federal law prohibits local governments from accepting private federal election grants.
“Imagine the reaction if the Trump campaign or the Kochs were paying for the counting of ballots,” Tom King, general counsel to the Amistad Project, which is representing the plaintiffs, told Fox News. “Imagine if we were talking about a third-world country where a private oligarch is paying for collection ballots and counting our votes.”
In mid-October, in what the center said “demonstrates a rejection of the legal challenges,” Zuckerberg and Chan gave another $100 million for election assistance. A spokesperson for the Chan and Zuckerberg family referred Fox News to a Zuckerberg Facebook post from Oct. 13, after the two gave the second donation.Continue Reading