Every once in a great while, politicians and government officials slip up and say what they actually mean.
Such was the case recently when a spokesman for Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson sought to justify the infusion of millions of dollars in private funding into the state’s election administration apparatus in 2020 by claiming that private grants were necessary because local, state, and federal officials did not provide enough money to “implement new voting rights amidst a global pandemic.”
As the statement makes clear, the grants — part of a $400 million blitz funneled through a leftist nonprofit organization by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg — completely bypassed the normal funding processes, circumventing the people’s elected representatives in both Lansing and Washington.
The arrangement created a public-private partnership between leftist activists and government officials at the local level that dramatically tipped the scales in favor of Democrat voters, financing “Zuckerboxes” and other measures that facilitated an unprecedented and unauthorized explosion of absentee and mail-in voting that heavily favored voters in urban areas over those in more sparsely-populated portions of the state.
The “Zuckerbucks” flowed freely to jurisdictions all over the country, but the impact was most pronounced in closely-contested battleground states where the grants helped turn out the vote for Joe Biden. In the Democrat bastion of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, for instance, there was one ballot drop box for every four square miles, compared to one drop box for every 1,159 square miles in counties that voted for Donald Trump.
Although the organization that doled out the Zuckerbucks, the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), has been notoriously secretive about its practices, a court order compelled publication of CTCL’s grant agreement with Philadelphia, which revealed that local officials predicted that $10 million would help them increase turnout by 10-20 percent compared to 2016 — enough to increase the Democrat vote margin in the city by over 100,000 votes.
Adhering to the maxim of Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, CTCL was “the firstest with the mostest” when it came to funding quasi- and extra-legal election practices in Democrat strongholds all over the country. The largest CTCL grants went to cities that uniformly voted for Hillary Clinton by about a 2-1 margin in 2016. Only as Election Day approached and CTCL began to receive scrutiny did the organization begin to send comparatively small amounts of money to more conservative counties, although by that time the utility of the grants was greatly diminished.
Complementing these efforts were unlawful, unilateral actions by state officials such as Jocelyn Benson, who took it upon herself to send out absentee ballot applications to every registered voter in Michigan, flooding the state with opportunities for chicanery. Benson had absolutely no legal authority to do what she did — she simply decided that the pandemic gave her an excuse to achieve a long-standing leftist policy goal, and she grabbed the opportunity.
That’s what makes the statement by her spokesman so astounding.
“Election offices are often under-resourced at the local level, have not been supported by the state Legislature, and many were eager for additional funding in 2020, when they were implementing new voting rights amidst a global pandemic,” said Benson spokesman Jake Rollow. “Federal funding, though beneficial, has been sporadic and also insufficient.”
The shockingly candid statement acknowledges, without a hint of reticence, that Zuckerberg’s money entered the picture because elected officials at the state, local, and federal levels all declined to provide the funding. These grants were advertised as a means of promoting democracy, but they exist only because Zuckerberg and CTCL decided that their judgment should supplant that of the people’s chosen representatives.
Moreover, Rollow’s assertion that election offices would have been “under-resourced” without private monies is demonstrably false. As detailed in an exhaustive report compiled for the Amistad Project, multiple states — including Michigan — left millions of dollars in CARES Act funding unspent in 2020.
The most stunning part of the statement is buried in the middle, where Rollow describes “implementing new voting rights amidst a global pandemic.” Whereas Benson originally claimed that the pandemic necessitated radical, unauthorized changes in voting procedures, Rollow frames the changes as “new voting rights” rather than a one-time exigency.
That’s because the left has been laying the groundwork for the shift to mail-in and absentee voting for well over a decade, dating back to at least 2005, when the George Soros-funded Democracy Alliance began working to change election laws to promote leftist turnout and empower progressive activists. Benson herself owes her current position to the patronage of the Soros-funded Secretary of State Project, which grew out of that effort.
It’s not often that a politician says what they really mean. When they do, it’s important to pay close attention.
by Phill Kline
Phill Kline is the Former Kansas Attorney General. He currently serves as Pulpit Pastor of Amherst Baptist Church, a law school professor, and director of the Amistad Project of The Thomas More Society.