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Conservatives Seek To Ban Private Funding Of Elections Ahead Of 2024 Races

Conservatives Seek To Ban Private Funding Of Elections Ahead Of 2024 Races

Authored by Steven Kovac via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

During the pandemic-plagued 2020 election season, hundreds of millions of dollars from private sources were granted to big cities, an action that many Republicans believe unfairly tipped the scales in favor of Democrats.

(Illustration by The Epoch Times, Shutterstock)

Distributed for the stated purpose of protecting public health and assisting people to vote safely, the private funds helped popularize mail-in voting, ballot drop boxes, and ballot harvesting at a scale never seen before.

In the years since 2020, either by legislation or referendum, Republicans have outlawed such private funding in 28 states.

Twenty-two states still allow the practice, raising concerns among Republicans about the integrity of future elections.

The people of the remaining states should be angry at their legislatures for not banning private money to fund their elections. No government officials should be accepting private payments to do their jobs,” Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation and former member of the Federal Election Commission, told The Epoch Times.

“When you allow private entities to give large donations for local election administration, the money can be used to manipulate the practices of local election officials for political advantage.”

Mr. von Spakovsky said many nonprofits are, in reality, political advocacy groups that have no limit on what they can donate and little reporting accountability.

They receive unlimited sums of charitable, tax-deductible contributions and then grant them to localities. which has turned out to be a way to move the get-out-the-vote campaign of political parties or candidates into government offices. It’s wrong to use government officials to do that,” he said.

Former Michigan state senator and election integrity activist Patrick Colbeck, a Republican, told The Epoch Times that he believes a larger scheme to privatize the execution of America’s election system is well underway and pointed out another of its perils.

Nongovernmental organizations are not subject to Freedom of Information requests. They are thus able to operate behind an effective veil of secrecy on what should be the most transparent process in government of them all—our elections,” he said.

Parker Thayer, an investigative researcher with think tank Capital Research Center, said allowing half the country to use private funding in elections is “a national security risk.”

“A 501(c)(3) organization can accept money from anywhere, including foreign sources like Russian oligarchs. Imagine such money being funneled to targeted jurisdictions in Alaska that are about to decide an oil-related referendum,” he told The Epoch Times.

“Since 2020, the hide-the-ball approach of a few big nonprofits regarding where their money comes from has inspired many copycats. It’s only a matter of time before the next copycat does not have America’s best interest at heart. That’s something that all Americans should be worried about.”

A voter casts his ballot at a drop box outside Philadelphia City Hall on Oct. 24, 2022. (Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr. Thayer said the injection of nonprofits into the 2020 system exposed a flaw in the system, reduced trust, and made the running of elections much more partisan.

In Wisconsin, 90 percent of 2020 nonprofit grant funding was given to the state’s largest cities; areas that turned out heavily for Joe Biden. Per capita, $3.75 went to big city dwellers and 55 cents to out-state residents, according to Capital Research.

After 2020, Wisconsin legislators twice passed bills to prohibit private money in elections. Twice, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, vetoed the bills.

On April 2, primary election voters in the state approved two veto-proof constitutional amendments that stops private money in elections and prohibits privately funded staff from helping run state elections. The amendments passed with 54 percent and 58 percent approval, respectively.

Wisconsin has spoken, and the message is clear … Wisconsinites have turned the page on Zuckerbucks and secured our elections from dark money donors,” state GOP chairman Brian Schimming said in a statement following the referendum.

Opponents of the amendments stated that the vaguely-worded ban on private funding of elections would create confusion, deprive clerks of badly needed dollars required to conduct elections, and will result in a scaling back of voter outreach programs designed to boost participation.

Before the passage of the Help America Vote Act in 2002, local officials never received federal funding to pay for federal elections.

“They got along just fine for all those years. What has happened in our states and localities?” Mr. von Spakovsky said.

Local election officials should talk to their legislators rather than going to private donors for money to run their elections.

Highlighting the partisan divide on the issue, Wisconsin Democratic Party chairman Ben Wikler said in a statement before the referendum, “Rather than work to make sure our clerks have the resources they need to run elections, Republicans are pushing a nonsense amendment to satisfy Donald Trump.”

The former president made a campaign stop in Green Bay on the day of the primary. He was a strong proponent of the two amendments and urged his supporters to get out and vote.

Public ire against the use of private funding in Wisconsin was first stirred in the summer of 2021 when former Brown County Clerk Sandy Juno, a Republican, came forward with allegations that out-of-state political operatives funded by donations from the nonprofit Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) took control of much of the administration of the November 2020 presidential election in Green Bay and other large cities in Wisconsin.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, testifies at a hearing at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 31, 2024. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

CTCL and another nonprofit organization called the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) were gifted a total of $420 million by billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

The money, which has since been labeled “Zuckerbucks” by critics, was ostensibly granted to local election offices throughout the United States to purchase personal protection equipment and pay for other means to help local jurisdictions conduct safe and healthy elections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a post-election accounting, Green Bay reported spending only 0.8 percent of its $1 million “Zuckerbucks” grant on personal protection equipment.

More Abuses Come to Light

Ms. Juno’s allegations were corroborated by special counsel Michael Gableman, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, who was commissioned by the state legislature in 2021 to investigate possible violations of the law and other irregularities in the conduct of the November 2020 election.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden
Mon, 04/15/2024 - 21:40