Michigan Voters Sue Democratic Secretary of State Over Use of $17 Million in ‘Zuckbucks’ to Tilt Elections

Michigan Voters Sue Democratic Secretary of State Over Use of $17 Million in ‘Zuckbucks’ to Tilt Elections
Attorney Thor Hearne, Thomas More Society Special Counsel. (photo courtesy of Thomas More Society)
Matthew Vadum

Michigan voters are challenging Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for allegedly breaking state laws and corrupting the 2020 elections by allowing left-wing billionaire Mark Zuckerberg to use his social media fortune to dictate how the elections would be administered.

In official results, Democrat Joe Biden prevailed over incumbent Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election in Michigan, winning 2,804,040 popular votes compared with Trump’s 2,649,852, or 50.6 percent to 47.8 percent, according to Ballotpedia. In 2016 in the state, Trump secured 2,279,543 votes to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2,268,839, or 47.5 percent to 47.3 percent.

As Michigan secretary of state, Benson, a Democrat, is responsible for overseeing state elections and making sure they’re carried out in accordance with the constitutions of Michigan and the United States, as well as various state laws.

But Facebook founder Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, flooded election offices across the country in the 2020 election cycle with hundreds of millions of dollars in grants in order to influence elections. The couple made $419.5 million in donations to nonprofits—“Zuckerbucks” or “Zuckbucks,” as some have called the money—$350 million of which went to the Safe Elections Project of the left-wing Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL). The other $69.5 million went to the Center for Election Innovation and Research. The CTCL reportedly distributed grants to more than 2,500 election offices.

The CTCL distributed grants to local election officials and required they spend the money to boost voting by promoting mail-in voting and depositing ballots at unattended ballot boxes.

“Of the almost $17 million CTCL spent in Michigan, the vast majority (at least 84 percent, and likely more) was expressly earmarked for urban jurisdictions that historically cast ballots for Democrats by a wide margin over Republicans,” the voters state in an appeal (pdf) in Ryan v. Benson that was filed with Michigan’s Court of Appeals on June 7. A lower court had recently ruled that the voters in the suit lacked standing to sue Benson.

The funds were allocated to “predominantly Democratic urban jurisdictions including the cities of Detroit and Flint.” Zuckerberg’s money “was also used to buy remote unattended ballot drop-boxes that were used for allegedly illegal ballot harvesting.”

The voters “seek to hold Secretary Benson accountable as the person responsible for safeguarding their constitutional and statutory election rights, because she allowed the Michigan election process to be corrupted by an influx of private money selectively intended to promote voting among urban, Democrat-leaning voters, with a consequent dilution of the votes of rural, Republican-leaning voters,” according to the filing.

“In doing so, she violated the Michigan Constitution and the Michigan Election Code.”

The voters say evidence establishes that Benson encouraged local election administrators to participate in the scheme and that—contrary to expectations—only a small fraction of the grants was spent on COVID-19-related personal protective equipment.

“COVID was used as pretext to run a Democratic get-out-the-vote campaign funded with tens of millions of dollars of  ‘dark money,’” attorney Thor Hearne, a special counsel for the Thomas More Society, a national public interest law firm representing the voters, said in a statement.

“This money was not reported to any Michigan or federal campaign reporting authority. Mark Zuckerberg is not stupid. He did not spend more than $400 million nationally—and close to $20 million in Michigan—to buy hand sanitizer and face masks. Zuckerberg and those involved in this scheme wanted to influence the outcome of the presidential election in battleground states like Michigan by increasing mail-in voting and ballot harvesting in predominantly urban Democratic jurisdictions to the detriment of Michigan voters who live in suburban and rural jurisdictions.

“Because these funds were channeled through the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a so-called ‘charity,’ and characterized as ‘grants,’ Zuckerberg’s ‘donations’ were not covered by campaign finance laws. Instead, they were unlimited and unregulated ‘dark money.’”

An analysis of data CTCL provided to the IRS and other public records demonstrated “that this scheme was designed to favor urban Democratic voters and disadvantage Michigan voters in more politically conservative rural and suburban areas.”

“This case is not about relitigating the 2020 election,” said Hearne. “Rather, it is about making sure that these unfair and illegal activities cannot happen in any future election in Michigan.”

Benson’s office declined to comment on the appeal.

“We do not comment on ongoing litigation,” Tracy Wimmer, Benson’s director of media relations, told The Epoch Times by email.