Sunday, February 21, 2021

Gov DeSantis Election Integrity Proposals Will Help Stop Progressive Billionaires from Meddling in Our Elections

Kudos to Governor DeSantis who proposed new measures to safeguard our elections in the state of Florida.

His press release, found here, addresses a number of important issues including prohibiting counties from receiving grants from private third-party organizations for “get out the vote” initiatives.

We found out right after the November election last year that 12 county Supervisors of Elections officials in Florida, including Hillsborough County, received "Zuckerberg" grants. Jeff Zuckerberg and his wife donated $400 million to a tax-exempt nonprofit Center for Tech and Civil Life (CTCL), a 501(c)(3) based in Chicago, IL. 

CTCL was founded in 2015 by Tiana Epps-Johnson, a former election administration director for the New Organizing Institute (NOI). NOI, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit was a partisan Progressive activist organization that trained Progressive organizers and was responsible for training many of the Democratic Party's digital organizers. NOI was called "the left's think tank for campaign know-how" by the Washington Post.

CTCL, a partisan Progressive organization, was a small nonprofit who in previous years previously raised between $500K and $1.5 million. Suddenly this organization was infused with hundreds of millions of Zuckerberg dollars in 2020. 

CTCL confirms leftist organizations fund their nonprofit on their website:

A "few" of the CTCL's donors listed
on their website

Facebook's  Zuckerberg met with Progressive activists in November 2019, including Vanita Gupta, now a Biden nominee for Associate Attorney General. The meeting was to get Facebook to agree to implement much harsher censorship and enforcement of rules to remove certain content, information and even users during the 2020 election cycle. Most of Facebook's censorship has been a one-way street. 

As soon as Biden was nominated last August, Facebook's hard censorship crackdown began on Conservatives, Republicans, Trump and those Democrats disagree with. By early September, the Zuckerberg money was flowing to the partisan CTCL nonprofit to target certain demographics and hire partisan demographics to conduct election activities. The pandemic was used to discourage the many experienced, older poll/election workers from working the polls and hire many new, young workers with zero poll/election worker experience.  

From a Public Records Request, we received a copy of the CTCL Grant request from Democrat Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Craig Latimer and a copy of the Grant letter from CTCL. A copy of that document is found here.

Latimer requested and received over $2.9 Million of Zuckerberg funded money. Latimer's request for Zuckerberg money included $2.6 million for Outreach Materials "to promote vote by mail and early voting ahead of the November election by undertaking a targeted education, outreach and communication effort across multiple platforms." 

The grant letter from the CTCL nonprofit dictates to the County how the Zuckerberg money must be used.

Documents received from Public Records Requests revealed Hillsborough SOE Latimer handed about $2.5 million of his Zuckerberg money to the marketing and PR firm Vistra Communications. Below is a high level view we received of Latimer's expenditures of the Zuckerberg money. 

Expenditures of Zuckerberg grant money
by Hillsborough SOE 

It appears Latimer launched a marketing campaign targeting certain groups, including infrequent voters, to promote vote by mail. We have requested more information, via Public Records Request, from the Hillsborough SOE seeking specific details regarding how Vistra spent millions of dollars in about 40 days, who/how/why they targeted and the specific messages used. How was the PR firm Vistra selected? Did Latimer submit an RFP to ensure a fair and equitable selection process was used? Did Vistra have access to the county's voter rolls and how did they use that access? We are still awaiting responses from the Hillsborough SOE for the latest information we have requested.

The over 2500 county and municipal jurisdictions who received CTCL's Zuckerberg money can be found here and a map of those jurisdictions found here. The 12 counties in FL receiving Zuckerberg dollars are below:

FL Counties who received Zuckerberg 
grant money

There may be numerous legal issues with private entities donating to local officials for local election activities. 

In September 2020, the Thomas More Society's Amistad Project was concerned that billionaire Zuckerberg was meddling in the 2020 election and began filing lawsuits and legal action. Thomas More claimed that the Zuckerberg funded CTCL grants to local officials violates federal voting rights law, including the Help America Vote Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Even the New York Times weighed in:
The prospect of election administrators tapping large pools of private money has raised new legal and political questions. That is partly because it is unusual for elections to be subsidized by nongovernment funding at this level, but also because most of the cash is coming from nonprofit groups that have liberal ties, and the biggest source of the cash, Mr. Zuckerberg, has drawn fire from across the political spectrum.
The Amistad Project launched investigations into how Left leaning private entities were working to influence the 2020 election, especially in targeted demographics. More information from their investigations can be found here and here
CTCL began sending agents into states to recruit certain Democrat strongholds to prepare grants requesting monies from CTCL

This privatization of elections undermines the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which requires state election plans to be submitted to federal officials and approved and requires respect for equal protection by making all resources available equally to all voters.

The provision of Zuckerberg-CTCL funds allowed these Democrat strongholds to spend roughly $47 per voter, compared to $4 to $7 per voter in traditionally Republican areas of the state.
Additionally, Amistad became alarmed at the new vulnerabilities created in our election system with “data sharing agreements” that gave left- leaning third-party organizations front door access to electronic poll books.
Left leaning voter registration organization Rock the Vote worked with Pennsylvania Democrat Secretary of State Kathy Bookvar to create a new portal for third party voter registration organizations to have direct access to the state's voter registration database. There is no Pennsylvania law or statute that authorizes Bookvar to create such portal which could violate Pennsylvania state law. The embattled Bookvar resigned as Secretary of State on 2/1/2021.

States are sovereign and Constitutionally have responsibility for the elections in their state. States are responsible for creating their state's election plan.

Fifty-five counties in Florida did not receive Zuckerberg money. They were treated differently in 2020 than the voters in the 12 counties who did receive Zuckerberg money. That is unfair. 

What if the NRA, Right to Life, Heritage or any Right leaning organization handed hundreds of millions of dollars, with strings attached of course, to targeted cities and counties to fund election activities? Democrats, their DNC Media and Big Tech comrades outrage would be never ending and they would be demanding a stop to such activity.

Private entities handing money to local election officials and dictating how the money must be used not only creates huge conflicts of interests but appears illegal and unlawful.

Zuckerberg money created a two-tier election in strategic demographics, including in Florida, to influence the 2020 election. This activity must be stopped now before the 2022 election cycle begins. Georgia has filed HB62 that will prohibit private entities and outside funding of election activities in Georgia.

Supervisors of Election officials are administrators. They are not campaign managers for outside organizations with an agenda. SOE's should not be handing multi-million dollar no bid contracts to PR firms for "targeted" marketing campaigns.

Below is a summary of Governor DeSantis proposed measures to strengthen our election integrity procedures in Florida, including the prohibition of counties from receiving outside money for "GOTV" election activities.

Gov DeSantis proposed election integrity measures

Thank you Governor DeSantis!

3 comments:

  1. "It is better to ask for forgiveness than permission" Political rule number 3

    ReplyDelete
  2. Precedent is now set and will not be overturned if the courts and legislatures don’t counter it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Other questions I asked SOE Latimer via email:
    1. How did you know about the grant offering?
    2. What extraordinary access did you provide the 3rd party marketing firm?
    3. How did you choose the marketing firm?
    4. Was the money used to access all voters/potential voters in Hillsborough County, or only certain demographics?

    ReplyDelete