WASHINGTON (TND) — Twenty-five state legislatures have enacted legislation to restrict large infusions of private funding going into elections, according to think tank Capital Research Center (CRC).
CRC's Scott Walters refers to these infusions as "Zuck bucks."
"It takes its name from Mark Zuckerberg, the big tech billionaire. He and his wife have billions of dollars in a charity called the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and they instructed that charity to send about $400 million to two other charities. And then those two charities doled the money out to government election offices at the state and local levels in almost every state," said Walters. "The fig leaf over this is that, well, we were just helping election offices run their elections. But there are multiple problems with that."
Walters said the problem is the hyper-partisan charities the money was given to, and how the money was distributed.
"We've studied the way the money flowed in all of the battleground states and in every one of those — Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia — the money skewed very disproportionately to Democratic jurisdictions; so they weren't helping everybody vote. They were especially helping Democratic jurisdictions vote," said Walters. "It's not illegal for the election offices to take in the money, but it is illegal for a charity to try to get involved in that kind of skewing of election results."
Alabama received nearly $3 million from one charity that had received donations from Zuckerberg, the Center for Technology and Civic Life. This spring, the Alabama Legislature passed House Bill 194 which prohibits public officials overseeing elections “from soliciting, accepting or using certain donations from an individual or nongovernmental entity for the purpose of funding certain election-related expenses.”
Mississippi passed House Bill 1365 this spring, which states “No agency or state or local official responsible for conducting elections may solicit, accept, use or dispose of any donation in the form of money, grants, property or personal services for an individual or a nongovernmental entity for the purpose of funding election-related expenses or voter education, voter outreach or voter registration programs.”
Watch the full interview below.