The Zuckerberg effect? Funding appears to fuel Trump’s lawsuits
Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a series of articles that will examine donations seen as used to influence the election results.
HOUGHTON — President Donald Trump’s attorneys are suing Michigan and Pennsylvania for what amounts to permitting hundreds of millions of dollars in private donations for a public election, which includes private grant monies being used to recruit, train, and pay election officials in established polling places in traditionally heavily Democratic cities in battleground states.
Trump attorney Harmeet Dhillon told Fox News’ Ingram Angle on Wednesday that the vote counts are delayed, particularly due to COVID-related extended return periods in some states. In other states, such as Pennsylvania, laws were created allowing people to return their ballots several days after Nov. 3. Pennsylvania, she said, disputes the claim.
The Supreme Court called, asking “the Democrats — the state of Pennsylvania” to respond to Trump’s attempt to intervene in a pending lawsuit about the three-day lag period.
“But in other states, we’re talking about challenging the fact that Republicans have not been allowed to monitor the canvass, and to see, for example, (if) signatures match, whether things are postmarked correctly, etc., and then, there are other changes that the Democrats are trying to do,” Dhillon said. “Like in Pennsylvania, another lawsuit has been filed concerning the Secretary of State’s ignoring state law and allowing people to have three more days to prove their voter I.D. if they’re first-time voters. and so this thing about making laws up on the fly is really what is the basis of a lot of these challenges, as well as basic blocking of fundamental, Constitutional right of the parties to monitor the authenticity of the Canvass.”
Nate Silver’s FIVE ThirtyEight tweeted on Nov. 4, that “two more batches of Pennsylvania vote were reported: 23,277 votes in Philadelphia, all for Biden — about 5,300 votes in Luzerne County, nearly 4,000 of which were for Biden, with 83% of the expected vote in, Trump’s lead in PA is now just below 6 points.”
Phil Kline, former Kansas Attorney General and director of the Amistad Project, responded.
“In any other year, that would be unacceptable,” Kline told Ingram, adding that such numbers are the direct result unprecedented financial activity.
“We have massive, private, big-tech money that poured through government election offices, to impact and alter the election,” Kline tole Laura Ingram. This includes Philadelphia, he said, (Mark) Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook) “actually paying the salaries of the election judges.”
Kline said that in Pennsylvania there are county clerks and county commissioners coming forward and blowing the whistle on the last-minute change that Dhillon spoke about, that allowed Democrat ballots to be handled differently than Republican ballots.”
“And in Michigan,” Kline said, “right down in Detroit, “we have a Democrat election clerk hiring Democrat officials to actually fill out and complete the ballots for other people, without Republicans being present to ensure that that was done with integrity and validity.”
Kline’s allegations against Zuckerberg are not new. As far back as Oct. 20, Just the News reported that the city of Philadelphia was court-ordered to produce documents showing that millions of dollars in nonprofit grant money, donated by Zuckerberg, was being used to quadruple the number of voting places to massively increase the number of ballots cast in the traditional Democratic stronghold. The documents detail how the city election officials filed a grant request in August to the Zuckerberg-funded Center For Tech and Civic Life (CTLC), by promising to open 800 polling places and grow voting to as many as 800,000 ballots cast in the general election.
Just the News continued, saying that Zuckerberg announced several weeks before, that he donated $250 million to CTCL to help local governments across the country hold elections this fall in the midst of the pandemic. He has since augmented that amount with another $100 million in recent days.
More than $5 million of the grant allowed the city to buy equipment to process increased mail-in and absentee ballots due to COVID-19, while $3.6 million was used to open “satellite election offices” for early voting and in-person voting on Election Day.
Kline told Just the News: “This privatization of elections undermines the integrity of the election by using government to play favorites. Government targeting a demographic to increase turnout is the opposite side of the same coin as government targeting a demographic to suppress the vote.”
The grant application stated that “a full, 5-member Election Board (Judges of Election, two Inspectors of Election, one clerk, and one Machine Inspector) will require recruiting, training and assigning up to 8,515 poll workers (1,703 divisions x five Election Board members, Just the News stated.
“Moreover, this is occurring as blue state governors have made it harder to vote with new COVID restrictions on in-person voting,” he added.
Kline also told Just the News that of the top 20 CTCL grants, amounting to $63 million, only one — for $289,000 — has gone to a Trump county won in 2016.
Kline alleges that the released documents confirmed his organization’s suspicions that Zuckerberg’s funding is designed to improve Democratic turnout in a key battleground state like Pennsylvania, than to address the COVID-19 crisis.
Zuckerberg did not confine his financial activities just to Pennsylvania.
Another $6.3 million in funding was awarded to Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee, and Racine in Wisconsin, a battleground state that President Trump clinched by a margin of less than 1% in 2016, Fox News reported on Oct. 16.
In Michigan, recipients of the grants (totaling $300 million in September) were East Lansing, Flint, Lansing, and Wayne County. Additional grant money was handed out to Minneapolis, Delaware County, and Philadelphia along with the five Wisconsin cities — which, when added up, saw about 76 percent of their combined votes for go to Hillary Clinton in 2016, the New York Times reported on Sept. 25.