Republican New York Rep. Claudia Tenney will introduce legislation Thursday that would amend the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations from providing direct funding to official election organizations.
The Daily Caller first obtained the legislation, titled the “End Zuckerbucks Act.” The legislation would prohibit non-profits from providing direct funding to state and local election officials or risk losing their tax exempt status.
A group of House Republicans, led by Tenney, previously sent a letter to the “left-leaning” group Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), calling on them to detail expenditure of the hundreds of millions of dollars they received during the COVID-19 pandemic. They alleged in the letter that the group spent less than 1% on personal protective equipment (PPE).
CTCL is aimed at election policy and administration and explicitly lists a range of budget items intended to be covered by these grants: PPE, worker recruitment and training, voter education and outreach, expansion and maintenance of voting sites, maintenance of polling places and sanitation costs among others.
The disbursals had lax guidelines to accommodate local needs, Vox reported at the time. Local election offices spent their CTCL funding as they saw fit, according to NPR.
“Private donors like Mark Zuckerberg poured money into the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), a left-leaning non-profit. CTCL then funneled this money directly to Boards of Elections in overwhelmingly Democratic precincts, using it as leverage to tell these agencies what to do and how to do it,” Tenney told the Daily Caller before introducing the legislation.
CTCL has made a list of the election departments who received funding available to the public, as well as a preliminary report of their use of funds. Grant recipients had a deadline of Jan. 31, 2021, to report how they spent the funding, according to CTCL.
“This kind of influence operation by a third-party undermines public confidence in the democratic process. It should not have happened, and the End Zuckerbucks Act will make sure it never does again,” Tenney added.
The “End Zuckerbucks Act” has 11 original co-sponsors: North Carolina Rep Dan. Bishop, New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, Maryland Rep. Andy Harris, Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack, Alabama Rep. Barry Moore, Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, Texas Rep. Chip Roy, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, Indiana Rep. Jim Banks and Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly.
“Zuckerberg quietly flooded the 2020 election with hundreds of millions and 92% of it went to Democrat districts. This is an enormous scandal, and most media outlets refuse to acknowledge it. I’m thankful to Congresswoman Tenney for stepping up, highlighting the problem and offering a solution. Her election integrity caucus acts as a whistleblower and problem solver and America needs both to safeguard our democracy,” Banks told the Caller.
The Amistad Project, connected to a conservative law firm, performed a study that found the funding distribution “heavily favored” precincts that voted for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016. It drew from the “grant pattern” to conclude that disbursals appeared partisan. “While CTCL maintains that it is a non-partisan organization and its grants are available to all local jurisdictions, the grant pattern is understood to have a distinct color of partisanship,” the report states.
“All local election offices responsible for administering election activities covered by the CTCL COVID-19 Response Grant program were eligible to apply for grant funds. Every eligible election department that was verified as legitimate was approved for a grant,” the CTCL website states, outlining eligibility for their funds.
READ THE BILL HERE:
(DAILY CALLER OBTAINED) — … by Henry Rodgers
“This influence has no place in our elections and the American people deserve transparency about the integrity of the elections officials we count on. Voters deserve transparency about the sources of donations and where the funds were distributed – and this bill seeks to provide them with that transparency,” Stefanik told the Caller. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans Demand To Know How A Left-Leaning Group Allegedly Channeled Private Funds To Election Agencies)
“Mark Zuckerberg channeled $350 million to government agencies during the 2020 election with zero transparency or accountability, and he used the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) to do it, a left leaning nonprofit. CTCL said the money was for PPE, but it was actually used for Get Out the Vote efforts and electioneering. It is no surprise that the vast majority of CTCL’s ‘Zuckerbucks’ ended up in predominantly Democratic counties,” Tenney told the Daily Caller.
The CTCL does not appear to have partisan requirements attached to grant application or distribution, according to reporting and their own website. There is no PPE stipulation evident in contemporary reporting on the CTCL funds or in their grant requirements as laid out on the website, so the Caller was unable to confirm this claim using publicly available material. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans Call For Answers From Texas Elections Administrator Over Private Funding For Elections)
Tenney and the co-sponsors will hold a press conference to speak about the legislation Thursday.
After publication, a spokesperson for the Chan Zuckerberg family sent the Daily Caller the following statement:
“When our nation’s election infrastructure faced unprecedented challenges last year due to the pandemic, Mark and Priscilla stepped up to close a funding gap and granted $350 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a non-partisan, 501 (c)(3) organization, which issued an open call to local jurisdictions across the country and provided funding for all jurisdictions that were determined to be legitimate.”
“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 (c)(3) CTCL is prohibited from engaging in partisan activities.”
The CTCL had not responded to a request for comment by Wednesday evening.
Editor’s note: This piece has been modified to provide further context on the grant stipulations and distribution of funds.