The Center for Tech and Civil Life (CTCL), a voter advocacy group funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, donated $7.4 million last year to Detroit to, among other things, “dramatically expand strategic voter education and outreach” in a blue city key to Joe Biden’s 2020 election win, according to memos obtained by Just the News under an open records request.
Detroit received three grants in 2020 from CTCL for $200,000, $3,512,000, and $3,724,450, according to the records released under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The amount augmented by more than half the city’s $13 million election budget, and dwarfed it the $6.3 million in grants that CTCL gave five Wisconsin cities, a series of donations that has generated accusations that private money was wrongly used to influence state and local election judges and administrators.
The reach of Zuckerburg’s money has created a backlash in some GOP states like Georgia and Arizona, where lawmakers have moved since November to ban private money from being donated to election administrators.
Phill Kline, head of the nonprofit Amistad Project, which has contested private financing of election administration in several states, said the Detroit memos show another instance in which Zuckerberg money was allowed to influence a key battleground during the 2020 election.
“The records obtained in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan show the Zuckerberg monies were used to buy off government officials dictating the manner in which the election was conducted and using government to target Democrat strongholds to turn out the vote for Mr. Biden,” Kline said. “Such action is wrong, unlawful and dramatically undermined the integrity of the 2020 election. We must not let a shadow government run our elections to the benefit of favored candidates and political parties.”
CTCL and state recipients of money have defended the grants, saying the money helped carry out an election made more difficult by the pandemic.
“Election offices across the country not only reinvented their procedures so that voters could remain safe, but they also went above and beyond to ensure accessibility for voters with disabilities and historically disenfranchised communities,” CTCL said in a post-mortem of the 2020 election.
CTCL’s grant money to Detroit was shrouded in secrecy, with city officials declining initial requests to identify how and where it was spent, prompting Just the News to file the FOIA request. The records obtained late last week show the city received three tranches of money