On Tuesday, The Federalist reported that a Louisiana appellate court reinstated Attorney General Jeff Landry’s lawsuit challenging Mark Zuckerberg’s infiltration of the state election system with private “Zuck Bucks” that flooded the country during the 2020 election.
The article reports:
The lawsuit, State of Louisiana v. Center for Tech and Civic Life, originated in October 2020. That’s when Louisiana, through Landry, sought a court order declaring that “private contributions to local election officials and the election system in general are unlawful and contrary to Louisiana law.” Landry’s lawsuit followed attempts by the Zuckerberg-funded Center for Tech and Civic Life to dole out millions in targeted grants to election officials throughout the state.
By the time Landry sued, more than 20 officials throughout the state had applied for grants of nearly $8 million, but after the attorney general warned them the funds were illegal, most abandoned their efforts. Orleans and Calcasieu parishes, however, went on to accept more than $810,000 in funds for the 2020 election.
While Landry succeeded in limiting the impact of the Zuckbucks in Louisiana to two parishes, his efforts to prevent what he called “the corrosive influence of outside money on Louisiana election officials” initially failed when a state trial court dismissed his lawsuit against the Center for Tech and Civic Life and its partner organizations.
In tossing the case, the trial judge held there was no legal basis to prevent “registrars of voters, clerks of court, or other local election officials from seeking and obtaining grant dollars to assist with the funding the necessary staff and equipment for the upcoming November 3, 2020 election.” In reaching this conclusion, the trial court relied on Louisiana’s constitution, specifically article 6, § 23.
That provision authorizes “political subdivisions” to “acquire property for any public purpose,” by among other things, “donation.” The trial court then reasoned that because “registrar of voters and clerks of court are ‘political subdivisions,’” “they are allowed to accept private donations,” including to run elections. Accordingly, the trial court tossed the state’s lawsuit and allowed the private funds to flow into the parish coffers.
The article explains the problem with the Zuckbucks:
Details from other states confirm Landry’s concerns. In Wisconsin, a retired election clerk in a large Wisconsin county explained how, behind closed doors, “political activists working for a group funded by Mark Zuckerberg money seized control of the November elections in Green Bay and other cities, sidelining career experts and making last-minute changes that may have violated state law.”
Similarly, in other states, Zuckbucks created “a ‘shadow’ election system with a built-in structural bias,” according to analyses conducted after the election. Post-election analyses of the data likewise reveal the $350 million in funding disproportionately favored Democrat-heavy areas — so much so that it could have changed the outcome of the election.
The article concludes:
Backlash against buying the election for Biden with Zuckbucks has prompted several states to pass laws expressly prohibiting the use of private funds for election purposes. As of March 2022, private funds are either restricted or banned in the running of elections in more than a dozen states. State legislatures in five additional states passed similar restrictions on outside funds, but those bills were vetoed by the governors — all of whom were Democrats.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is one of the five Democrats to veto a legislative ban on the private funding of elections. But with last week’s appellate court decision reinstating Landry’s challenge to the use of private funds in elections, the state may nonetheless prevail in its attempt to keep outside money from interfering in future elections.
Before the case returns to the trial court, however, the Center for Tech and Civic Life may attempt to appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court. The Federalist contacted an attorney for the group, asking if an appeal would be forthcoming, but our request for comment went unanswered.
When get-out-the-vote drives are centered in areas controlled by one party and paid for by private money, they can swing an election. There is a difference between active citizens conducting volunteer registration and get-out-the-vote efforts and private companies pouring millions of dollars into those efforts. If every America took the responsibility of voting seriously and showed up to vote, these drives would have no impact.