From PA State Senator Doug Mastriano's FB page:
Senator Doug's caption:
Even when adjusted for population, Democrat counties recieved more grant money from Zuckerberg to influence voter turnout than Republican counties recieved in the 2020 election. There are no public records showing the amounts that all counties requested and any conditions that Zuckerberg's groups placed on the grants. I support legislation that bans "Zuck Bucks" and any private funds that could be used to influence an election. [All "i before e" misspellings in original.]
The only problem here is that no one has ever been able to show that those "Zuck Bucks" influenced the outcome of the 2020 election. More on that a little later.
Though it has become one of the many conspiracy theories Trump's GOP has been using to undermine the legitimacy of Biden's 2020 election win.
For example, the premiere of "Rigged: The Zuckerberg Funded Plot to Defeat Donald Trump" at Mar-a-Lago only last week.
Kudos to Doug Mastriano on his fantastic timing! I am sure the twice-impeached orange vulgarity now hunkered down in his Florida bunker noticed your good efforts, Doug. I am sure of it!
Anyway, what was the funding for, anyway?
Some background from the Center for Tech and Civic Life website:
CTCL provided COVID-19 Response Grants to nearly 2,500 election departments across 49 states. In total, CTCL distributed approximately $350 million in grant funds.
All local election offices responsible for administering election activities covered by the CTCL COVID-19 Response Grant program were eligible to apply for grant funds. Every eligible election department that was verified as legitimate was approved for a grant.
And from the groups Final Report we read:
The Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), a non-partisan organization backed by Republicans, Democrats, and non-partisan officials, grew rapidly in 2020 in response to an exceptionally challenging U.S. election year when a global pandemic and disinformation campaign threatened people’s ability to participate in the democratic process. In response, our country’s state and local election officials alongside pro-democracy organizations including foundations, corporations, and nonprofits, came together to overcome these challenges. As a result, 2020 was the most secure election in U.S. history and voter turnout soared.
CTCL played a critical role in deploying various strategies to support election officials and the voting public in 2020. In addition to providing timely and relevant online training as well as accurate and trustworthy information to millions of voters, CTCL distributed nearly $350 million in grants to local election departments to administer safe elections.
CTCL is a publicly supported 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We’re proud to have a healthy mix of financial support from foundations, individual donors, and earned revenue.
But why was it necessary?
Axios gives a clue:
The private money was needed in part because the federal government hadn’t provided enough funding. Congress allocated $400 million in March for election services, but that was just a tenth of what some officials said was needed.
Ah. So if they thought they'd be strapped for cash, local election commissions could apply for a grant. CTRL has an answer for how much:
Your election office will be eligible to apply for a grant amount based on a formula that considers the citizen voting age population and other demographic data of your jurisdiction. Minimum grants will be $5,000. You may choose to receive less than the offered amount if your needs or eligible expenses do not reach that amount.
So the local election offices chose the amount?
Looks that way to me.
And Axios has some information regarding the question as to whether these grants influenced the outcome of the election:
In the weeks since the election, allies of President Trump have included the Center for Tech and Civic Life grants in their voter fraud conspiracy theories. They have challenged the legality and neutrality of the grants, claiming that the funding was aimed at boosting Democratic turnout. But an APM Reports analysis of voter registration and voter turnout in three of the five key swing states shows the grant funding had no clear impact on who turned out to vote. Turnout increased across the country from 2016. The APM Reports analysis found that counties in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona that received grants didn’t have consistently higher turnout rates than those that didn’t receive money.
So Doug should probably have educated himself a little better on that.
As well as this part:
There are no public records showing the amounts that all counties requested and any conditions that Zuckerberg's groups placed on the grants
This is the among CTRL's final report. It's a Form 990 - the "Public Disclosure Copy, by the way and lo and behold it does list the amounts that the counties requested.
For example York County - part of which is in PA State Senator Doug Mastriano's legislative district:The county received $321,600. Surely he can pick up a phone and find out how much was requested.
As far as the groups limitations on the grants, there's a whole page at CTRL's website devoted to that.
Here it is:
How much did Doug Mastriano get absolutely wrong with this?