How Zuckerberg Used a Tax-Exempt Foundation to Help Biden Fix the 2020 Election
And got away with it.
[Order David Horowitz's new book: The Enemy Within: How a Totalitarian Movement is Destroying America.]
Everybody to the right of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez knows that the root cause of the crisis facing America — the most serious since the Civil War — is lawlessness. And everybody not under the spell of the Democrat spin machine understands that the lawlessness begins at the top, with government and the many agencies of the executive branch who are tasked by our Constitution with enforcing the law. Whether by failing to enforce our immigration statutes, or failing to prosecute criminals in our streets, or violating our election procedures to favor one party, Democrat administrations in our nation’s capital and our major cities have brazenly supported criminal behavior carried out by Black Lives Matter rioters, common street thugs, and anti-Supreme Court agitators seeking to extort decisions by fear. The effect has been to systematically undermine the rule of law, stoke the fires of anarchy, and sow chaos in our institutions.
This trend has been evident since the revival of the radical left on the eve of the 9/11 attacks and its creation of Sanctuary Cities designed to flout the law and prevent the enforcement of the PATRIOT Act. It escalated with Obama’s illegal, unconstitutional — and self-acknowledged — violation of America’s immigration laws. And it spread to the revenue authority of the I.R.S., which systematically rejected the applications for tax-exempt status of conservative organizations, until the scandal grew so large that it forced the resignation of the tax commissioner Lois Lerner. But while one commissioner is gone, the illegal partisan practices of the I.R.S. have continued to grow under her latest successor, Charles Rettig, playing a key role in skewing the results of the last presidential election.
Tax-exempt foundations are barred from contributing their resources to election campaigns. There is no ambiguity in the law concerning this prohibition:
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.
The existence of such a regulation is meaningless, however, if it is not enforced. Consequently, this ban on campaign activities by “charitable” organizations didn’t daunt Facebook billionaire and Democrat Party patron Mark Zuckerberg and his wife when they plotted a massive campaign to swing the 2020 presidential election in favor of the Democrat, Joe Biden. The Facebook couple donated $419.5 million to two leftwing tax-exempt foundations with the intention of tipping the result to Biden by launching “get-out-the-vote” campaigns focused on Democrat precincts in battleground states.
A rarely mentioned fact about the 2020 election is that Biden eked out a victory by perhaps the narrowest margin in history — .027% of the 159 million votes cast. This was a margin easily created by a strategic influx of campaign cash coupled with orders to spend the money on massive numbers of paper ballots, which could be harvested from “drop boxes,” which, as Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary 2000 Mules shows, were repeatedly stuffed by Democrat operatives in the middle of the night.
All these millions of Zuckerberg dollars, underwritten by American taxpayers, drew no attention from I.R.S. Commissioner Charles Rettig or the I.R.S. investigating teams whose responsibility it was to see that taxpayer supported operations like the Zuckerberg “charities” were not intervening in American election campaigns with the idea of shaping their outcomes.
In 2020, the Zuckerbergs donated $69.5 million to the tax-exempt Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), whose founder was formerly a director of the leftwing People For the American Way, and $350 million to the “Safe Elections” Project of the tax-exempt Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL). The title “Safe Elections” refers to the cover for Zuckerberg’s fraudulent operation, which he presented as an effort to protect voters from COVID-19. The three founders of CTCL were former co-workers at the Democrat-aligning New Organizing Institute. The conduit Zuckerberg used to funnel his $419.5 million to CEIR and CTCL was yet another tax-exempt nonprofit, the California-based Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation supports get-out-the-vote campaigns for the Democratic Party.
On receiving Zuckerberg’s funds, CEIR and CTCL distributed the money, in the form of “COVID-19 response” grants of varying amounts, to election administrators in some 2,500 municipalities in 49 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. The alleged purpose of these grants, according to CTCL, was to help create conditions where Americans could vote as safely as possible in the midst of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. This could have been accomplished by renting football stadiums and other sports arenas that would provide enough space for “social distancing” and would have been a worthy tax-exempt objective, if it had been the actual purpose of the project. But it wasn’t.
Neither CEIT nor CTCL had ever before experienced anything even remotely resembling the size of the cash influx they received from Zuckerberg for the 2020 election cycle. For example, over the course of the entire prior history of CTCL
- a small, unremarkable organization founded in 2012 - its yearly revenues from contributions and grants had never once exceeded $2.84 million. That high-water mark represented a mere eight-tenths-of-one-percent of the astronomical sum donated by Zuckerberg in 2020.
Despite their self-professed “non-partisanship,” CEIR and CTCL allocated their Zuckerberg-provided funds in a highly partisan manner, which conformed to the election strategies followed by Democrat operatives across the country to make election fraud easier. The goal of Zuckerberg and the two organizations was to pump massive sums of money into voter-mobilization initiatives in specific cities and counties that had traditionally voted for Democrats, so as to maximize the likelihood that large numbers of Democrat voters in those places would cast ballots in the 2020 elections. Meanwhile, places that traditionally had voted Republican received far less money — or in some cases no money at all. The CEIR and CTCL campaigns were highly targeted efforts to boost voter turnout in Democrat districts to a degree that would be substantial enough to overcome whatever level of voter turnout Republican districts in the same states might experience.
The CEIR/CTCL grants were not awarded as gifts that the recipient cities and counties could use in whatever way they saw fit. The Zuckerberg organizations extended formal invitations to the targeted communities encouraging them to apply for the Zuckerberg funds, which in turn would be doled out with many strings attached. Strict conditions were laid down as to how the recipient jurisdictions could use the money and administer their respective elections. “It was a pay-to-play scheme, where in exchange for taking this money, the CTCL gets to tell them how to run the election,” observed Thomas More Society attorney Erick Kaardal.
Using COVID-19 fears as an excuse, CTCL required that its grant money be used to: (a) suspend existing election laws in order to promote universal mail-in voting, a practice singled out by the bi-partisan Carter-Baker Commission as particularly vulnerable to fraud and corruption; (b) eliminate or weaken signature-matching requirements and ballot-receipt deadlines for mail-in votes; (c) expand opportunities for “ballot curing” (i.e., “fixing” wrongly cast ballots to remove their disqualification); (d) cover the very considerable expenses associated with massive bulk mailings and “community outreach” programs administered by private activists; (e) enable the proliferation of unmonitored ballot drop boxes which would make it impossible to ensure a transparent and secure chain-of-custody trail for all ballots; (f) create unprecedented opportunities for illegal ballot harvesting; and (h) greatly increase funding for the hiring of temporary poll workers, which, as The Federalist points out, “supported the infiltration of election offices by paid Democratic Party activists, coordinated through a complex web of left-leaning non-profit organizations, social media platforms, and social media election influencers.” In other words, the Zuckerberg/CTCL funds were used to conduct and support multiple practices that are widely recognized as practices that make election fraud possible.
Zuckerberg’s donations to CEIR were used to promote objectives similar to the CTCL priorities cited above. But because CTCL received so much more money from the Facebook founder than did CEIR, the 2020 elections were impacted much more powerfully by CTCL. Zuckerberg’s “coordinated assault on in-person voting generally favored Democrat Party voters who preferred to vote in advance, while placing Republicans, who preferred to vote in person, at a disadvantage,” according to former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline in his December 2020 report titled The Legitimacy and Effect of Private Funding in Federal and State Electoral Processes, published by the Thomas More Society's Amistad Project. That assault helped to create “a two-tier election system favoring one demographic while disadvantaging another demographic.” Kline’s report was also critical of CTCL for generally viewing state election-integrity laws as nothing more than “obstacles and nuisances to be ignored or circumvented.”
Additional ways in which CTCL grants were used in various states and cities across America:
- CTCL encouraged elections departments in multiple states to use its grant money for the purchase of vehicles to transport “voter navigators” to the places where their services were needed — services like: (a) registering voters; (b) helping people apply for absentee ballots; (c) helping voters, potentially at their front doors, to fill out their ballots; (d) witnessing absentee ballot signatures; and (e) “curing” absentee ballots that had been filled out incorrectly.
- CTCL grants in Georgia were used to: (a) expand curbside voting and conduct “voter outreach” campaigns designed to “promote absentee voting and encourage higher percentages of our electors to vote absentee”; (b) dispatch CTCL agents to train poll workers; and (c) fund “Happy Faces,” a temporary staffing agency affiliated with the Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, to count the votes on election night in Fulton County.
- CTCL grants to Philadelphia were used to pay election judges and various other election officials, and to increase the number of polling locations, mobile ballot-pickup units, and ballot drop boxes in the city.
- CTCL grants helped Delaware County, Pennsylvania — a heavily Democratic area — put one drop box in place for every 4,000 voters and every four square miles of land. By contrast, in the 59 Pennsylvania counties that Trump had won in the 2016 election, there would now be just one drop box for every 72,000 voters and every 1,100 square miles of land. “Government encouraging a targeted demographic to turn out the vote is the opposite side of the same coin as government targeting a demographic to suppress the vote,” Phill Kline wrote in the Amistad Project report. “This two-tiered election system allowed voters in Democrat strongholds to stroll down the street to vote while voters in Republican strongholds had to go on the equivalent of a ‘Where’s Waldo’ hunt. These irregularities existed wherever Zuckerberg’s money was granted to local election officials.”
- CTCL gave $443,000 to Lansing, Michigan, whose elections department used that money to purchase additional absentee-ballot drop boxes and to mail absentee-ballot applications to every registered voter.
- Election officials in Lorain County, Ohio used CTCL funds to pay an $8,100 Verizon phone bill and to purchase a $24,000 van that was used to transport equipment between a warehouse and the elections department.
- The Boone County, Missouri elections department used $3,000 of CTCL’s COVID grant to produce a rap video and purchase radio spots that, according to County Clerk Brianna Lennon, would “appeal to younger, first-time voters” — a demographic strongly inclined to support Democrat candidates.
- When CTCL gave $100,000 to Racine, Wisconsin in May 2020, the organization directed Racine’s mayor to recruit the leaders of four additional cities — Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, and Milwaukee — to collaboratively draft a grant request for CTCL funds as well. On June 15, those four cities together submitted a “Wisconsin Safe Election Plan” to CTCL and were quickly approved to receive $6.3 million to put their plan into action. As Amistad Project director Phill Kline points out, CTCL “retained the right, in the grant document, to, in its sole discretion, order all funds returned if the grantee cities did not conduct the election consistent with CTCL dictates. Effectively, CTCL managed the election in these five cities.”
All told, CTCL in 2020 made 26 separate grants of $1 million or more to cities and counties in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. Twenty-five of those grants, totaling a combined $85.5 million, went to places that Joe Biden ultimately won in the 2020 presidential election. The vast majority of CTCL’s money also went to places that had voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016. By contrast, the lone Trump-supporting CTCL grant recipient of $1 million or more in 2020 — Brown County, Wisconsin — was given just $1.1 million.
Below are some additional examples of the enormous imbalance in CTCL’s grants to Democrat areas vs. Republican areas:
- In Texas, counties that Biden won in 2020 received CTCL grants that amounted to $3.22 per capita, whereas counties that Trump won received just 55 cents per capita..
- CTCL gave $2.8 million to the heavily Democratic Webb County, Texas, thereby helping total registrations in that jurisdiction increase by approximately 10,000 over the corresponding figure from 2016 — and helping Biden beat Trump by a two-to-one margin.
- In Virginia, grants to pro-Biden counties accounted for over 90% of all CTCL grants in that state — far more than the corresponding 9.6% that was given to Trump-supporting counties.
- CTCL gave $1.4 million to the Democrat stronghold of Fairfax County, Virginia, helping to increase Democrat voter turnout there by 65,458 above the 2016 figure. By contrast, Republican turnout in Fairfax County increased by only 10,564 above the 2016 figure.
- In Arizona, a state with 15 counties, fully 83.6% of all known CTCL grants were poured into just 3 counties that Biden won in 2020.
- The total dollar amount of CTCL grants to pro-Biden counties in Arizona was 5.8 times greater than the dollar amount given to pro-Trump counties in that state.
- In Pennsylvania, grants to counties that Biden won in 2020 received $3.11 per capita, vs. just 57 cents per capita to counties that Trump won. More specifically, CTCL grants to rural, Republican-leaning Pennsylvania counties like Mercer and Luzerne amounted to an average of about 75 cents per registered voter, while Democrat-majority areas like Delaware and Chester Counties received $5.17 and $6.73 per registered voter, respectively.
- CTCL gave $20.8 million in grants to 10 (of the 13) Pennsylvania counties that Biden won in 2020. Those 10 CTCL-funded counties provided Biden with nearly 73% of all the votes that he received statewide. By contrast, CTCL awarded grants to 12 (of the 54) Pennsylvania counties won by Trump, and those dozen grants totaled a combined $1.73 million. In other words, the combined value of CTCL’s grants to pro-Biden counties in Pennsylvania was 12 times greater than the value of its grants to pro-Trump counties.
- CTCL gave $42.4 million in grants to 17 (of the 31) Georgia counties won by Biden — a figure amounting to more than 94% of all CTCL funding in that state. Those 17 CTCL-funded counties provided Biden with almost 73% of all the votes that he captured statewide. By contrast, a mere $2.6 million — less than 6% of all CTCL grants distributed across Georgia — were allotted to 26 (of the 128) counties won by Trump. Put another way, CTCL’s grants to pro-Biden counties were 16.3 times greater than its grants to pro-Trump counties.
- In Wisconsin, CTCL grants to 20 separate pro-Biden counties amounted to more than 90% of all of the organization’s grants in that state.
- CTCL awarded eleven massive grants in Michigan, ten of which went to cities that Hillary Clinton had won in the 2016 presidential election. The total number of dollars given to those Democrat strongholds was 14.7 times greater than the corresponding amount given to the lone Republican jurisdiction.
- The Wisconsin legislature gave the heavily Democratic city of Green Bay approximately $7 per voter to manage its 2020 elections, vs. just $4 per voter to the state’s Republican rural counties. Then, after CTCL got through allocating Zuckerberg’s money in Wisconsin, the Green Bay figure ballooned to an astronomical $47 per voter, while the figure for most of the state’s rural areas remained steady at just $4 per voter.
Similar funding disparities — favoring Democrat areas over Republican areas — occurred in and near Democrat citadels such as Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Flint, Dallas, and Houston.
The Zuckerberg grants dwarfed the amount of election-related money normally spent by the various Democrat cities that were recipients of those grants. As J. Christian Adams reported in PJ Media, for instance:
“Philadelphia’s election office budget was normally $9.8 million. The CLTC gave Philadelphia $10 million, more than doubling the city budget.”
“Those millions were used to hire local activists as city employees to drive around and collect ballots. The millions bought new printers and scanners to accommodate mail ballots. Philadelphia established brand new satellite election offices across the most Biden-friendly neighborhoods in the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The millions bought scores of convenient drop boxes across the same neighborhoods where mail ballots could be conveniently dropped. Even though laws limited third parties from collecting and dropping off multiple ballots, people were photographed dropping off bundles of ballots at the boxes.
“If voters couldn’t muster the initiative to travel a few blocks to the drop-off boxes or new satellite offices, the city went to them to collect their ballot.
“CLTC dollars flowed through Philadelphia election officials to the pricey public relations firm Aloysius Butler & Clark. They designed billboards, posters, bus advertisements, and print ads. Radio advertisements and street marketing all added to the blitz.…
“The hundreds of millions poured into urban election offices by the CTLC and affiliated charities also explains how Trump dramatically increased his share of the black and Hispanic vote and still lost… Even if Trump increased his share of the black and Hispanic vote, the opening of the urban turnout floodgates through private donations to government election offices easily swamped Trump statewide in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Michigan.
“It doesn’t matter if Trump has 15 percent of the black vote in Detroit if turnout there soared by 92,891 Detroit votes, which it did. It doesn’t matter if Trump has even 20 percent of the black vote in Atlanta if turnout in DeKalb soared by 54,550 votes, which it did.
“This also explains how the GOP was so successful everywhere… except at the top of the ticket. A flood of blue votes gushing out of deep blue urban areas has a statewide effect only for statewide candidates. It doesn’t affect legislative races outside of the cities.”
“The amount of additional money these groups [CTCL and CEIR] poured into elections offices in Democrat-voting areas was truly staggering,” said the New York Post in October 2021. “To put it in perspective, federal and state matching funds for COVID-19-related election expenses in 2020 totaled $479.5 million. The CTCL and CEIR money totaled $419.5 million. These two private nonprofits were responsible for an 85 percent increase in total additional election funding — and that largesse was concentrated in a relatively small number of heavily Democratic municipalities.”
Summing up, The Federalist noted that: “The practical effect of these massive, privately manipulated election-office funding disparities was to create a ‘shadow’ election system with a built-in structural bias that systematically favored Democratic voters over Republican voters. The massive influx of funds essentially created a high-powered, concierge-like get-out-the-vote effort for Biden that took place inside the election system, rather than attempting to influence it from the outside.”
In addition to issuing the aforementioned grants, CTCL collaborated with Facebook to produce a guide and webinar that taught election officials how to engage and assist voters more effectively. This voter-assistance campaign targeted low-income and nonwhite minorities who typically lean Democrat but shun election participation.
By no means was Facebook the only ally with which CTCL collaborated. As Real Clear Investigations explains, a “CTCL partner” nonprofit known as the Center for Civic Design “helped design absentee ballot forms and instructions, crafted voter registration letters for felons, and tested automatic voter registration systems in several states, working alongside progressive activist groups in Michigan and directly with elections offices in Georgia and Utah.” “Still other groups with a progressive leaning, including the [tax-exempt nonprofit] Main Street Alliance, The Elections Group, and the [tax-exempt nonprofit] National Vote at Home Institute, provided support for some elections offices,” added RCI. In other words, leftwing activists were infused directly into the elections offices of various cities and towns.
The effects that the funding patterns of CEIR/CTCL had on the composition of the electorates in their targeted recipient areas were noteworthy. In Georgia, for instance, counties that received money from Zuckerberg and CEIR/CTCL in 2020 were, on average, 2.3 points more Democratic than they had been in 2016. Meanwhile, the political mix of non-funded counties was essentially the same as it had been four years earlier.
Such realities are particularly significant in light of the fact that Biden’s margin of victory in the 2020 presidential race was razor-thin. The final tally in the Electoral College (EC) was 306 EC votes for Biden, to 232 EC votes for Trump, with 270 being the number required to win the presidency. The popular vote margins by which Biden allegedly won the three most hotly contested battleground states were as follows: Arizona: 10,457 (EC votes: 11); Georgia: 11,779 (EC votes: 16); Wisconsin: 20,682 (EC votes: 10). The presidential election of 2020 was decided by a mere 42,918 out of the 159 million votes that were cast overall, or 0.027 percent of all the votes that were cast.
Collectively, Trump lost the states of Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin by just 42,918 votes. If he had won these 3 states, he would have gained their 37 combined EC votes, bringing his total up to 269. Biden, conversely, would have lost 37 EC votes, bringing his total down to 269 as well. In the event of a 269-269 tie, the election would have been decided by the House of Representatives. Even though the Democrats held a majority in terms of total House members, the Republicans held a majority of seats in 26 separate states while the Democrats held a majority of seats in 23 separate states, and 1 state had an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. Each state delegation would have been permitted to cast 1 vote for president, meaning that Trump would have won the election in this scenario.
The money donated by CTCL and CEIR bore no resemblance to traditional campaign finance or lobbying. Rather, it enabled left-wing activists to infiltrate city and county elections offices, and using those offices as vehicles for particular administrative practices, voting methods, and outreach campaigns targeting cities and counties with high concentrations of Democratic voters. As Tarren Bragdon, CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability, told Fox News in June 2021: “The Zuckerberg funding is an unprecedented example of using government employees and government resources to put your finger on the scale, to affect the election outcome. It would be like giving private money to police departments to have officers do more stop-and-frisk in certain neighborhoods compared to other neighborhoods. It would be like giving money to the tax department to do increased audits in certain zip codes or neighborhoods versus other neighborhoods.”
Bragdon also noted that although the stated justification for the CEIR/CTCL grants was voter and election-official safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, some counties spent little or no money at all on things like personal protective equipment [PPE] that could have made in-person voting safer for everyone. Fulton, Cobb and Dekalb Counties, for instance, spent on average only 1.3% of the Zuckerberg-funded Georgia grants on PPE, while most of the money was used to promote mail-in voting statewide. “This had nothing to do with COVID and had everything to do with using government resources and government employees to play politics,” said Bragdon.
In a more timid vein, a group of 14 congressional Republicans sent a letter to CTCL’s executive director on June 21, 2021 that said: “Designated as ‘COVID-19 response grants,’ the hundreds of millions in CTCL grant money were marketed as funds available to election officials to ‘safely serve every voter’ during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the current data available shows that less than one percent of funds were spent on personal protective equipment. If true, the American public deserves to know how the other 99 percent of these grants were spent.”
“This private funding has never been done before,” said Hayden Dublois, a researcher at the Foundation of Government Accountability. “We hear about dark money and corporations buying ads, but never have we seen hundreds of millions of private dollars going into the conducting of elections. And states didn’t have any laws on the books to stop it.” But the I.R.S. did, and did nothing.
In the 2020 Amistad Project report, Phill Kline wrote that in 2020 there had been “an unprecedented and coordinated public-private partnership to improperly influence” the election in swing states, a partnership that “effectively placed government’s thumb on the scale to help these private interests achieve their objectives and to benefit the candidates of one political party.” Zuckerberg and his wife were central players on the “private” side of that equation.
Moreover, Zuckerberg continued to use his riches to influence political elections in a major way even after the 2020 presidential race was over. CTCL gave 14.5 million of the Facebook founder’s dollars to select Georgia counties during the open-voting period for the crucial January 2021 runoff elections in Georgia where radical Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won a pair of U.S. Senate seats that gave their party a majority in the Senate. More than 60% of CTCL’s grants in Georgia were earmarked for Fulton and Dekalb Counties, both of which are heavily Democratic.
In sum, while the I.R.S. authorities turned a blind eye towards his illegal activities Mark Zuckerberg used his enormous wealth to help fix the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden — and the January 2021 Senate runoff races for Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, all the while reducing his own tax bill. Zuckerberg did this on the pretext that he was simply seeking to help ordinary Americans find a way to participate safely in the electoral process during the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Zuckerberg’s goal was to massively increase voter turnout in Democrat-dominated jurisdictions by maximizing fraud-breeding practices like ballot harvesting, the use of unmonitored ballot drop boxes, and mail-in voting without strict signature-matching requirements. To achieve his political ends, Zuckerberg poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the coffers of a pair of politically partisan, tax-exempt nonprofit organizations that were more than willing to do his dirty work and secure the presidency for a doddering contempt-for-the-law-and-the-truth Alzheimer’s case.
None of these travesties could have taken place without the seditious collusion of I.R.S. Commissioner Charles Rettig and his 63,000 agents whose duty is to protect the integrity of our tax laws — and, as it turns out, our elections.
David Horowitz is the founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the author of the newly published book, The Enemy Within: How a Totalitarian Movement Is Destroying America.
John Perazzo is the editor of DiscoverTheNetworks.org—an encyclopedic guide to the political Left and a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is the author of Black Lives Matter: Marxist Hate Dressed Up As Racial Justice.