The Amistad Project: Zuckerberg Needs To Be Transparent About Political Donations Through Partisan Nonprofit

In conjunction with a Washington Post report this morning that Mark Zuckerberg is donating an additional $100 million to municipal governments through a partisan nonprofit organization that has already directed $300 million to areas in battleground states where Hillary Clinton won with large and overwhelming majorities, Phill Kline, Director of the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society, released the following statement. The Thomas More Society is representing clients and funding lawsuits that have been filed in Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin to stop this extraordinary effort to privatize elections.

“Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that he and his wife are now spending more than $350 million to direct government efforts to turn out a specific group of persons to vote is further proof that private funds from billionaires must not be allowed to dictate how state’s manage elections.

“These funds have been issued in ‘grants’ through a nonprofit organization that is run by extreme partisans who have so far provided funding with the instruction that they be used to turn out votes in districts that are comprised primarily of Hillary Clinton voters in this year’s general election, thus seeking to increase turnout among Democrats only in leftist strongholds in critical presidential battleground states. The Center for Technology and Civic Life has determined where the funds go, and the funds and methods provided thereby are not universal but highly selective; thus, they violate equal protection under the law.

“Zuckerberg has received extensive criticism for censoring speech on the Facebook platform and now he is either willfully ignorant or not shooting straight with the American people. The CTCL founders have a long history of engaging in partisan conduct, including political attacks on President Trump and Republicans, and CTCL’s very founding derived from a left-wing Obama-affiliated activist organization. This partisanship is reflected in the Zuckerberg-CTCL grants. The top 19 grants by CTCL only involve one jurisdiction that marginally voted for President Trump in 2016. The remaining Democrat strongholds receive 99.5% of the $63 million in ‘Zuckerbucks.’ Mark Zuckerberg’s actions speak louder than his words.

“Government, regardless of the source of funds, should not participate in targeting a demographic to turn out the vote, which is the opposite side of the same coin as government targeting a demographic to suppress the vote. If Mr. Zuckerberg wants to help the Biden-Harris ticket, he can give the monies directly to the Democratic National Committee and not force the American public to subsidize his partisan efforts by claiming a tax deduction on the funds. Moreover, if he is truly concerned about every American voter, and not just a select few, he can donate the funds to state legislatures which have the responsibility to conduct fair elections and the legal duty to use the funds in a manner that benefits every voter throughout their states.

“We believe CTCL and Mr. Zuckerberg would object if the National Rifle Association announced it was purchasing 350 county election offices in key swing states which demonstrate support for the Second Amendment so that these government election offices can hire and deputize NRA volunteers as assistant election commissioners and in turn, activists can turn out the vote from only favorable voters in those counties. We would object as well in such a case because the privatization of elections undermines election integrity. Government election management must not be directed by private interests.”

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.