‘Zuckerbucks’ campaign financing scheme used for partisan voter turnout

Washington, D.C. – Louisiana voters on Saturday overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to ban the financing of local election offices by ideological groups, corporations, Big Tech companies, and possible foreign interlopers—commonly referred to as ‘Zuckerbucks.’

Decided by a 73-27% margin, the amended constitution now reads “No funds, goods, or services donated by a foreign government or a nongovernmental source shall be used to conduct elections unless provided for in the election code and subject to restrictions provided by general law,”

In June, with bipartisan support the Louisiana State Legislature passed H.B. 311, and after receiving two-thirds majority support in both the House and Senate submitted the referendum to Louisiana voters at the October 14th statewide election to prohibit the use of monies from a foreign government or nongovernmental source to fund elections.

ETI urged the Senate’s swift consideration of H.B. 311 while conducting a targeted grassroots education and outreach campaign to help ensure the bill’s passage.

On June 7, 2021, Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards vetoed H.B. 20 making private funding of elections illegal. The previous year, Attorney General Jeff Landry sounded the alarm as these funds began flowing into local elections offices.

National Chairman of the Election Transparency Initiative and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued the following statement:

“Louisiana has joined a movement of more than two dozen states declaring that elections should never be privatized, and we’re pleased that voters acted resoundingly to ban ‘Zuckerbucks’ once and for all after the governor’s politically motivated veto. The House and Senate should be applauded for advancing this critical anti-corruption amendment which let voters decide whether the campaign financing scheme should be allowed to pollute Louisiana’s elections.

“We thank Rep. Blake Miguez as well as Sen. Sharon Hewitt for protecting the integrity of our elections and extend profound appreciation to the State Freedom Caucus Network and Louisiana Freedom Caucus Chairman Alan Seabaugh for their thoughtful, diligent coordination.”

During the 2020 election cycle, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, gave hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to nonprofits, including the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), which then funneled that money to thousands of election jurisdictions in 48 states and Washington, D.C. under the guise of “election administration.”

Now, after dozens of states have acted to ban “Zuckerbucks,” CTCL and a coalition of left-wing organizations have re-doubled their efforts to circumvent state laws through the newly formed front group, the deceptively-named U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. The “Alliance” is designed to systematically influence every aspect of election administration, offering local election offices an extensive portfolio of grants, trainings, resources, and consulting services. Earlier this year it was announced that the Alliance selected Georgia’s DeKalb County Voter Registration & Elections for an initial grant award of $2 million in violation of the state’s 2021 ban.

The funds from CTCL and their allies were strategically directed into Democrat-leaning jurisdictions at a rate of 2:1 during the 2020 cycle, including $1,128,000 into Louisiana.

“Zuckerbucks shouldn’t pay for elections,” The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board wrote.

“…[P]rivate election funding is inappropriate and sows distrust…This isn’t how elections should be run, especially in the current era of partisan mistrust.”

The Election Transparency Initiative, a partnership between the American Principles Project (APP) and Susan B. Anthony (SBA) Pro-Life America, was organized to combat federal H.R. 1 and H.R. 4 legislation and advocate for state-based election reforms that voters can trust.

Photo Credit: AP/Jeff Chiu