Joining us today is Phill Kline, the former attorney general of Kansas and director of the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society. Kline argues that hundreds of millions of dollars were donated by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to nonprofits, which used them in ways that compromised election standards. According to an Amistad Project report, election officials who received Zuckerberg’s money put their thumbs on the scale by trying to increase voter turnout in only democratic strongholds.
We discuss ongoing efforts to expose election fraud, and we break down Amistad Project’s most recent lawsuit, which demands that legislatures in five states be allowed to certify electors prior to congressional certification.
This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I’m Jan Jekielek.
Jan Jekielek: Phill Kline, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.
Phill Kline: Thank you. Great to be here.
Mr. Jekielek: Phill, of course, you’re the director of the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society basically looking at election integrity. You’re an election watchdog operation. Recently, you had an editorial in The Epoch Times, an op-ed, “We Should Follow the Constitution When Electing Our President.” That seems obvious. It seems almost like a truism. Tell me why you chose to write this op-ed.
Mr. Kline: Well, it’s remarkable. It’s absolutely what we should do, but it is not what we are doing. In fact, the only date in the Constitution that’s truly relevant to when we select our next president is Inauguration Day. All of the other dates are really statutes that have emanated through the years. If you go back [far] enough in their history, they’re based on how long it takes to ride a horse to Washington, D.C. and also based on when the harvest was finished. That’s when we first started Election Day on a specific Tuesday in November.
When we’ve had this unprecedented election—and what I mean by that, Jan, is that we’ve had a shadow government operate; one billionaire put in more money to run the election than the federal government did—we have to pause and make sure that the election was conducted lawfully, which it was not, and also whether we can have faith in the result.
State legislatures under the Constitution have that responsibility and that authority. And they have not even met as a body since the election to look at whether the election was conducted in a lawful manner. That’s deeply concerning, and it should be deeply concerning to all Americans. That’s what the Constitution calls for, and that’s what is not happening right now.
Mr. Jekielek: So you just mentioned a whole number of things that I want to dig into a little bit here. The one that just really stuck out was the billionaire putting in more money than the federal government put in, into the election?
Mr. Kline: Yes.
Mr. Jekielek: Tell me about this.
Mr. Kline: Well, in March of 2020, the federal government passed the CARES Act. That was the omnibus kind of COVID relief measure that went forward, and it appropriated $400 million for the states to use in conducting the election during COVID. Mark Zuckerberg alone, in the money that we’ve tracked thus far, we’ve tracked $419 million that he put forth in dictating to cities how they’re going to conduct the election, as well as monies he put forward to a 501(c)(3) that manages our polling books, our electronic poll books. $50 million went to them.
So Zuckerberg’s money greatly influenced how the election was operated and conducted in the urban core of the swing states. In fact, everywhere his money touched, there was illegality. It was Zuckerberg money that paid the election workers. He paid the election judges. He paid for the consolidated counting centers. He purchased the machines. It was people paid by Zuckerberg that boarded up the windows so that America was kicked out of the counting room, and the billionaire was invited in. And that’s deeply concerning, as it relates to election integrity in America.
Mr. Jekielek: That’s a very serious set of charges, obviously. So how did you actually dig up the evidence around this?
Mr. Kline: Well, we started getting involved in election integrity over 18 months ago, and we started to see, as COVID hit, a couple of things come together. First of all, particularly in blue states, executive officials started shutting down in-person polling and making it more difficult to vote in person as they emphasized absentee ballots.
Well, this shutting down harms a particular demographic. Polling clearly indicates that Republicans prefer to vote in person on Election Day and Democrats prefer to vote in advance. And moving towards the absentee ballots raised concerns, in fact, bipartisan concerns, until this election. A report that was authored by James Baker and former President Jimmy Carter articulated the concern about absentee or mail-in ballots because they are more prone to fraud.
The ballot is cast away from trained election workers that are present when you vote in person. So there’s no one to prevent intimidation or coercion or misleading the voter or even making sure it’s the voter who completed the ballot. So states have all kinds of protections added to absentee ballots—common sense things like requiring a witness or requiring a signature comparison, in some instances requiring the absentee ballot to be directly delivered to a clerk or an election official.
Then the left, in March, started attacking all of these restrictions through litigation. We have filed litigation lately, but it was the left that initiated scores of lawsuits in March and April, claiming that COVID, for example, made it too threatening to have a witness, or COVID didn’t allow a signature comparison, even suits that said COVID required the state to prepay the return envelope and postage because people would be afraid to go to the post office.
Now, this is a two-pronged attack: one, eliminating absentee restrictions, and two, shutting down and restricting in-person polling. And then Zuckerberg stepped in to the breach here. A man by the name of David Plouffe, who was President Obama’s campaign manager, was working for Mark Zuckerberg, and he published a book in March of 2020 that is entitled, “A Citizen’s Guide to Beating Donald Trump.”
On page 81 of that book, he mentions that the election will be decided by a block by block street fight to turn out the vote in the urban core in cities like Philadelphia and Milwaukee and Minneapolis and Detroit. Then suddenly, about that time, a sleepy little 501(c) that’s operated by leftist activists—former Obama-ites who worked in the Obama administration, Obama fellows and so forth; they were running about a million dollars a year—started reaching out to Democrat mayors saying, “Look, we’ve got some money on the way. We want to give you money to come up with your own elections plan. You need to turn out the vote, you need to focus on these demographics, you need to have money for drop boxes and mobile pickup units and all of this stuff, and put together that plan and come back and ask us to fund it.”
Then on September 2, Mark Zuckerberg throws $250 million their away. He adds another $100 million just about a week later. He gives $50 million to the Center for Election Innovation and Research, $350 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life,[CTCL] and those monies start to pour out into Democrat strongholds. They purchase local election officers. They tell them how to run the election. It was focused on turnout, turning out the Democrat vote in Democrat strongholds for Biden. That’s not a role government should play. Government should not have its thumb on the scale in managing the election.
Mr. Jekielek: What do you mean exactly by purchase election officials?
Mr. Kline: Well, they told them exactly what to do this election, in the grants and the agreements of the grants which we were able to obtain. Initially, we couldn’t get this because CTCL and Mark Zuckerberg are private. If it was government doing it, there’s transparency. There has to be a budget; there has to be hearings. But instead, this was a private entity that refused to share information with us.
So we got some documents pursuant to court order, and they show in the grant agreements. For example, [in] Philadelphia, it dictated how many satellite polling locations Philadelphia will have. Eight hundred is what it told them. “And if you don’t do it, we’re going to take back our money.” They actually dictated to them how much they were going to send, the number of polling places and what they would be used for, and how many funds, how much monies would be dedicated to that, and their title.
That’s significant. It’s just one example. Philadelphia, or Pennsylvania, as all states do, they require both parties to be present in the counting room. That’s common sense because in the counting room, these election inspectors, as they’re called in some states, or poll workers, are actually completing ballots or filling out ballots for people who aren’t there.
There are many reasons why a ballot can’t be read by the machine, and the law says that if it can’t be read, like it might be torn or the coffee stained or the paper crinkles or whatever, that these folks actually complete the ballot for that person. They’ll look at the ballot, and they’ll say, “Well, they voted for Biden here, so I’m going to put Biden and they voted on down,” and then they cast the new ballot and count it.
So the only way to prevent fraud is to have both parties there as such conduct is engaged in. So every state has that requirement. But in Pennsylvania, the satellite offices, the law requires a Republican in the polling place. And the grant defines satellite offices as doing the same work as the polling place, but they are to be called “satellite offices.” That allowed the Democrats in Philadelphia to say, “This is not a polling place, so the law doesn’t require a Republican to be there.” And they kicked Republicans out.
In Michigan, it worked this way: Zuckerberg money consolidated the counting center. So instead of having a ward where five people get in the room and they do this process of checking the ballots and so forth, they put it into what’s called the TCF Center, which is an abandoned former ice hockey arena the size of two football fields. They had 134 counting tables there.
They claim they had to do this because of COVID. So they’re creating a crowd because of COVID. Then they had a Republican … the Michigan laws says a Republican must be in the place of the counting. They said, “Yeah, the Republican’s in the place.” He or she is in the cheap seats, and they can’t see what’s going on, on these 134 counting tables.
So Zuckerberg money went in there and dictated the manner in which they were going to do this and the manner allowed them to kick one party out of the counting facilities. That’s wrong. That’s illegal. Another thing it did: with consolidated counting centers, you suddenly had reasons to drop off hundreds of thousands of ballots in one location. And these drop boxes were put out.
Now, just to give you an example of the impact of the drop box, I go to Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Democrat strong hold. There was one “Zuckerbox”—that’s what we call them—for every four square miles. That’s two miles by two miles square. In other words, you could take a stroll and vote. Plus, they’re all these satellite locations.
In the 59 counties that President Trump won in 2016, there was a drop box for every 1159 square miles. So in Republican counties, Pennsylvania told Republicans, “Go on a weekend vacation and find Waldo,” and in Democrat counties, “We’ll come by and pick up your ballot for you.” That’s wrong. Government should not be engaged in suppressing the vote of one demographic and trying to turn out another demographic.
America tried that before in the Deep South. It was a Democratic strategy around the turn of the 20th century, and it focused on suppressing the black vote and turning out the white vote. This time it was suppressing the Republican vote and turning out the Democratic vote. It’s wrong in either case.
Mr. Jekielek: This is really fascinating. Basically, the mechanism is that the Zuckerberg foundation founded these two non-profits, which then used the strategy—am I reading this right?—straight out of this book that came out in March 2020?
Mr. Kline: That’s part of it. Now, Zuckerberg’s foundation didn’t found these 501(c)s. He just funded them to the tune of $350 million and the other one to $50 million. I think you have a right to call it your own charity if you give them $350 million. But no, they had pre-existed. And it operated for a while and generated about a million dollars of revenue before Zuckerberg came along.
Editor’s Note: We reached out to Mark Zuckerberg and the Center for Tech and Civic Life [CTCL] about these allegations but neither immediately responded.
Mr. Jekielek: So I understand that you just recently put out a lawsuit, actually, I think, today as we’re filming. Can you tell me about it?
Mr. Kline: Yes, we’re suing about this. It’s again, those artificial restrictions that are in the law regarding when the electors are to be seated, when they’re to be counted and so forth. And it is happening at a time … the Constitution under Article I, Section 1, Clause 1, says the state legislatures determine how electors for their state are selected for the Electoral College. So they oversee the elections. They have the responsibility of determining whether the election was conducted properly and whether you can have faith in the result.
But oddly enough, since Election Day, none of these legislatures have been able to meet as a body. They are only able to meet if a couple of things happen. It varies state to state. If they have a super majority—which shouldn’t [even] be required for them to perform a constitutional function. It shouldn’t be required to get two-thirds of the legislature to call a legislature into session, as it relates to constitutional obligation. They should be able to meet. Or a governor calls a special session, which these blue state governors have refused to do.
So the very body that is responsible for how these electors are selected can’t even meet after the election, up through January. So that’s unconstitutional, in that it’s a delegation of authority to a governor of a legislative function. That is not allowed. These governors have been hostile to meetings. An example is Michigan. In Michigan, a couple of things have happened. First of all, the attorney general, the chief law enforcement officer of the state—and I had that role in Kansas—threatened legislators who didn’t agree with her on the election result with criminal investigation and prosecution. That’s stunning to me. That type of intimidation and threat should never happen in America from the state or chief law enforcement officer.
Secondly, Governor Whitmer, actually [first] claiming COVID and then changing it, and then saying there was a threat, which was denied by the state police who said there was no threat that they were aware of, mobilised 200 state police officers to surround the Capitol building in Michigan on December 14, and they disabled Republicans from entering. Now Democrats were able to enter the building, and they entered the building and certified their electors on that day. But Republicans, not a one was allowed in the people’s chamber. The governor shut down the legislature. That doesn’t happen. Kings and queens shut down parliament. Governors don’t shut down legislatures. That is a significant problem, and we are bringing suit over those issues.
Mr. Jekielek: Okay, very interesting. So, a couple of questions here. The first one is some of the rhetoric that I’m hearing talks about how, “Well, it doesn’t make sense. There’s no real reason to call a session of the legislature. It’s just all bluster and so forth.” So that’s the reason they’re not being called.
Mr. Kline: Well, what’s the harm? We have now seen nine months where these governors have declared the legislature to be irrelevant to lawmaking. In fact, some of our earliest involvement was challenging these governors declaring themselves to no longer be a part of the lawmaking process, but rather to be the law—that what they say when they wake up in the morning is the law. They no longer need to go to the legislature. They no longer need to have hearings so we can debate the science of these shutdowns.
Rather, they have forwarded the most massive wealth shift in American history, from small business to the big box stores, and the big internet conglomerates that are delivering product. They have shut down and killed small business, and they’ve done it by proclaiming themselves to be the law.
And now they’re doing it with elections. I wonder, my question to them is when did they lose faith in democracy? When did they believe that they have the right and the responsibility to say, “Legislature, you’re no longer relevant to lawmaking in this state. I’m going to do it on my own.”? That is an affront to the Constitution. And it’s an affront to the American people.
We’ve seen this arrogance on the left, that they can’t share information with us because we’re not wise enough to discern the truth, so we have to have censorship. We see them saying, “You’re not wise enough to have a legislative representative body to debate whether we should shut down our economy or close schools because I know what’s best for you. If I don’t offer that and dictate it, at the threat of putting you in jail if you differ, you’re probably going to hurt yourself.” It’s stunning to me how we’ve lost faith and freedom in this nation over the past year.
Mr. Jekielek: So Phill, irrespective of what you described happened in Michigan, a number of states have sent competing slates of electors. There’s Democratic electors and there’s Republican electors. There’s some debate about the utility of this, or how this can meaningfully play out. I’m wondering if you could please speak to that, from your perspective?
Mr. Kline: Well, it has happened before, where there are multiple slates of electors from a state. When that happens, Congress can declare that state’s election is in dispute, and therefore, its electoral votes are not to be considered. If that happens, it reduces the potential of hitting what is required, and that is the 270 votes to be elected by the Electoral College.
If that doesn’t happen, then it goes to Congress to decide who the next president is. That is a voting Congress where each state gets one vote, and all the members of Congress from that state participate in determining how that vote is to be cast. The Constitution does provide steps on how we manage this in all these circumstances. The Founding Fathers and that generation foresaw these types of problems. And they have placed in there a way to handle it.
Mr. Jekielek: So you describe in your op-ed, this earlier election, ii is 1876, I believe?
Mr. Kline: Yes.
Mr. Jekielek: You believe it shares some commonalities with today. Tell me about that.
Mr. Kline: Well, there were multiple states that sent two sets of electors. In fact, in one part of our nation’s history, and I can’t remember the state right now, there were actually three sets of electors that were sent by the state legislature. When the popular vote or the results of an election are in dispute, the Constitution is very, very clear that the state legislature is the one with the authority to send multiple sets of electors, and that Congress then has the responsibility, if the majority of 270 votes is not present in the Electoral College, to step in. That’s why you see some congressmen now saying, “Look, we ought to take a look at this. We ought to take the time to understand what happened in this election. There are hundreds of thousands of ballots in dispute.”
I don’t know if you saw it, but one of the whistleblowers that we brought forward is a truck driver who transported 140 to 280,000 completed absentee ballots from Bethpage, New York, a postal facility that doesn’t even receive mail—they’re not supposed to have ballots there—to Pennsylvania, where his trailer carrying those ballots disappeared, just disappeared. There’s no reason for a quarter of a million ballots to be transported over state lines into a state. Unless, I suppose—and I’ve heard somebody claim this—perhaps a quarter of a million Pennsylvanians happened to be vacationing in Bethpage and decided to mail in their absentee ballots on the same day using a postal facility that doesn’t accept mail.
That alone should call into question these late night ballot dumps that occurred in the urban core, with the work stoppages that have never happened before. You don’t stop counting. You only stop counting so one side can learn how many ballots they need to make up the difference. That’s the only reason to stop counting. All of these urban core areas at certain times had ballot counting stoppages. Then loads of ballots came through the door. So there’s a lot of concern about the integrity of this election and Congress and state legislatures are to step up to the plate.
Mr. Jekielek: So is it actually true that it has never happened before that the counting stops? I find that hard to believe.
Mr. Kline: Well, there was one time it stopped that I’m aware of. This was pre-machine, pre-everything, and it was the Senate Democrat primary in Texas with Lyndon Baines Johnson running against a popular former governor, Coke Stevenson. And suddenly, it stopped, and Johnson was behind by a handful of votes, and they couldn’t find Ballot Box 13 in one small city, along the southern border of Texas.
When they finally found it, it had just enough votes in it for Lyndon Johnson to overtake Stevenson and win the primary. Coincidentally enough, all of those voters in that one precinct voted in alphabetical order. They all had the same penmanship, had the same pen, and all voted for Johnson. So yes, we’ve had a ballot counting stop before. And the result was Johnson stole the senate seat.
Mr. Jekielek: So Phill, let’s talk about the machines a little bit here. In Antrim County, Michigan, there was a forensic audit done of machines—I think it’s the only one that I’m aware of up to now—and it found this unusual rate of errors that would require the ballots to be adjudicated. This triggers this situation that you were describing earlier, where someone will go in and basically redo the ballot and figure out what it was supposed to mean. That would be the normal process. How does the error rate that was found there—I’ve heard different stories—measure up to typical error rates?
Mr. Kline: It greatly exceeds federal standards, in fact, over 2000 percent higher than the federal standard. Federal law requires the certification of the election system, and how it functions could not be certified in that instance with that error rate. Here’s what’s deeply concerning about the machines from my perspective.
First of all, you can’t count what you can’t see. The machine is like the ballot box where the ballot goes in. But you can’t see how it’s counted. You can’t pull it back out, unless you see the computer logs, unless you see how that machine was functioning. There’s something called the file integrity manager log. It will tell you whether there’s any type of intervention in the way that it’s functioning. Election officials will not release those logs. They won’t allow America to see those logs. The Secretary of State of Michigan is fighting the release of that forensic report. And in fact, there’s a memorandum she issued after the election requiring and ordering election officials to start deleting information from the machines. That is alarming.
I’ve often had the press and the media say, “Where’s your proof? Where’s your evidence?” You don’t understand. I oversaw the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. You’re not understanding what evidence is. If I was investigating you for tax evasion, and I had a search warrant for your home believing documents were there, and I showed up on a summer day. It’s 98 degrees, sweltering hot, sun burning down, mid-afternoon, and you bar the door, and then I see smoke coming from your chimney. That’s evidence you’re burning the documents.
When these election officials, who are pledged to run transparent elections, start suddenly hiding things, shredding things, erasing things, that’s evidence, and that is concerning. We see that in each of these areas. The stunning thing about it, it’s not that hard to do an audit of the performance of the machines. It doesn’t cost much. They’re not allowing it. It doesn’t cost too much to have a risk limiting audit, grabbing actual ballots and grabbing the envelopes and doing forensic analysis of the ballots. There’s a lot that can be determined, whether it was completed by a machine or a human hand, and so forth.
They’re not allowing it. They’re not allowing the simple steps to take place to ensure that this election was conducted with integrity. Instead, they’re saying, “Trust us. Even though we kicked you out of the counting room, even though we took private money, even though we sidestep state laws and ignored other laws, and we broke the chain of custody of the ballot, trust us. Our guy won, and there’s no fraud going on here.” I’m sorry. That’s evidence that needs to be investigated.
Mr. Jekielek: So of the range of evidence that’s out there, that there were significant irregularities, I think Peter Navarro has a report that kind of summarizes a lot of that recently. What do you think is the most compelling? What do you think is the thing that really needs to be addressed first?
Mr. Kline: Well, honestly, it’s the hiding of the evidence. There’s absolutely no reason for it. And that shows intentional conduct. When you’re destroying evidence, when you’re not releasing information, when you’re not being transparent, that is evidence of your intent and your fear. So I’ve never investigated a person who was innocent, and controlled information of their innocence, who didn’t want me to see it. And I’ve never investigated a person who was guilty, who wanted me to see the evidence of their guilt that they controlled. That’s pretty basic.
Mr. Jekielek: So Phill, aside from this new lawsuit that you’ve filed now, you actually have a number of other lawsuits in play. I’m wondering if you could update us on the status of these.
Mr. Kline: Well, we plan to pursue them to their completion, and particularly the lawsuits involving CTCL and Mr. Zuckerberg’s money, because we cannot privatize elections. We can’t have elections brought to you by Coca Cola, or the Koch brothers, or the National Rifle Association, which I believe if they were doing what Zuckerberg was doing, you’d have mainstream media or left media going crazy over it. We can’t afford to have a billionaire auction of election offices before the next election. So we’re going to press that forward. Through that, we will have the opportunity to engage in what is called in a civil litigation manner, “discovery,” and to compel these groups to answer questions and to respond with documents so we can really know what went on inside those offices as they poured out this money. So we plan to pursue those. That will not impact the 2020 election. But hopefully, it will change things for the future.
Mr. Jekielek: Phill, come January 6, this is a date that is on a lot of people’s minds. This is the point at which a number of these congressmen, for example, Congressman Gaetz is one of them, are saying they’re going to contest the election. How does that process actually work? What happens, and what could happen subsequently?
Mr. Kline: I can only tell you what I hope happens. And that is if they are able to have a House member and a Senate member contest, then Congress will engage in a serious look at what happened in this election and call witnesses and subpoena witnesses and do what state legislatures should have done over the past several weeks, but were prohibited because governors refused, and/or leadership refused to call them into session. So America deserves a look at this election. And Congress now is best positioned to do it. I would hope that they wouldn’t wait until January 6, quite frankly. They ought to start now pulling together this information. It is vitally important. The only thing that’s preventing it is the politics of the moment and people concerned about appearances and people trying to wait out the clock. That’s the wrong thing to do when we’ve had election chock full of lawlessness and irregularities and an unprecedented expenditure of private funds.
Mr. Jekielek: Any final thoughts before we finish up, Phill?
Mr. Kline: No. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be with you. I appreciate what you guys are doing and your willingness to share the truth and share different perspectives. It’s appreciated.
Mr. Jekielek: Phill Kline, such a pleasure to have you on.
Mr. Kline: Thank you.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.