AMHERST, Va., Oct. 28, 2020,/PRNewswire/ -- In conjunction with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's appearance before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee today, and to promote election integrity and transparency, the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society challenged Mr. Zuckerberg to disclose where his $350 million for election administration is going and why.
Mark Zuckerberg has contributed $350 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), a left-leaning organization that has been providing these funds to towns, cities, and counties for election administration, via contributions to their general funds. The largest, public donations have gone overwhelmingly to strongly Democratic areas, as documented below.
"Mark Zuckerberg is providing nearly as much money to this year's election administration as the federal government," said Phill Kline, Director of The Amistad Project, which has supported federal lawsuits to dispute the application of the Zuckerberg funds. "The American people have a right to know what has driven him to take this extraordinary action, and where all the money is going," said Kline.
Key questions for Mr. Zuckerberg include the following.
- When and how did Mr. Zuckerberg develop the plan to provide $350 million to towns, cities, and counties for elections? To whom did he discuss this? Will he share e-mails related to these discussions?
- In Philadelphia, CTCL is paying election officials to help count the vote and required the city to open no fewer than 800 new polling places. In doing so, CTCL, a private entity, is changing how an election is managed. Did the idea for attaching such strings to election funds come from Mr. Zuckerberg? To what extent has he discussed this issue with CTCL leadership and his advisers? Does he approve of this practice and if not, will he ask CTCL to stop this practice?
- David Plouffe served as Barack Obama's 2008 campaign manager, is a long-time Democratic political consultant, and served as a board member and strategist for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Mr. Zuckerberg's charitable organization. Mr. Plouffe also wrote the best-selling book, A Citizen's Guide to Beating Donald Trump. What conversations has Mr. Zuckerberg and/or those on his staff had with David Plouffe and/or Mr. Plouffe's colleagues? Was funding to CTCL specifically discussed? Will Mr. Zuckerberg share related e-mails?
- When did Mr. Zuckerberg commit to CTCL to provide his first $250 million in assistance?
- What strategic discussions has Mark Zuckerberg had with CTCL's leadership? How does the monitor CTCL's progress? Will he share e-mails about these matters?
CTCL Contributions Heavily Favor Democratic Areas
A study by the Amistad Project has identified CTCL's 20 largest publicly identified donations which total $76.5 million (see Exhibit A below). All these funds went to areas that Hillary Clinton won in 2016. In fact, in these 20 areas, Hillary Clinton cumulatively had 66.7% of the vote compared with Donald Trump's 28.5%. Also, large amounts of these grants go to Democratic areas in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
"CTCL, and municipal officials that are constitutionally-bound to manage elections under the auspices of state election offices and taxpayer funding, have an ethical duty to be fully transparent. The deliberate practice of hiding large amounts of private donations from Mr. Zuckerberg to fund a public function and distribute funds to favor select demographic areas over others in swing states is a direct violation of equal protection under the law," said Kline.
CTCL's Leaders Have Worked for Stridently Progressive Organizations
Though they profess to be nonpartisan in their management of CTCL and the Zuckerberg funds, CTCL's three leaders – Tiana Epps-Johnson, Whitney May, and Donny Bridges – all worked for a stridently progressive organization, the New Organizing Institute, before joining CTCL. Executive Director Epps-Johnson also had a Fellowship with former President Obama's Foundation. Their biographies can be found here: https://www.techandciviclife.org/our-team/. Information about the New Organizing Institute can be found here: https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/new-organizing-institute/.
Documents produced under a court order and independent research reveal that strategies articulated by former campaign manager David Plouffe, who is also a former board member and strategist for Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, established the broader strategy for the Zuckerberg-CTCL funding scheme. In Plouffe's book, "A Citizen's Guide to Beating Donald Trump," published on March 3, 2020, he opines that "The contest for the presidency may come down to block-by-block street fights in Detroit, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia."
The Amistad Project, a project to preserve civil liberties, is an initiative of the Thomas More Society, a not-for-profit national public interest law firm. For more information on this and related issues, go to got-freedom.org. The Exhibit follows.
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