When coronavirus caused an increase in the costs of managing the 2020 election, Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg financed a nonprofit organization. This nonprofit assisted towns in absorbing the additional costs of administering the elections.
It was discovered that Republican counties which backed former President Donald Trump received more funding than Democrat counties that supported Joe Biden.
Conservative opponents attacked Zuckerberg and Chan’s eventual $350 million in donations to the Center for Tech and Civic Life when the contributions were made public.
The GOP called the money “Zuckerbucks” and accused the Facebook founder of attempting to influence the election in favor of Democrats.
We are happy to announce the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has awarded a grant to support the onboarding, inclusion, and retention of people from historically marginalized groups and to structurally improve the community dynamics for NumPy, SciPy, Matplotlib, and Pandas 🎉 1/5
— Ax=b (@melissawm) August 31, 2021
In response to the backlash, Zuckerberg and Chan hired renowned Republican election attorney Michael Toner to conduct an independent examination. This examination centered on the funding CTCL granted to municipalities and other jurisdictions around the country the previous year.
Former FEC Chairman Michael Copps and his team of attorneys at Wiley Rein determined more Republican counties, defined as towns that voted for Trump in 2020, requested and got money from CTCL.
Because metropolitan counties favored Biden, the majority of the 2,500 scholarships went to Democrat towns. The 501(c)(3) group’s annual statement with the IRS revealed information on CTCL’s activities and contributions.
Toner was hired by Zuckerberg and Chan, not by Facebook, to assess the payments to municipalities and other governments in charge of running elections. Beyond the IRS filing, no more reports on CTCL’s donations were expected.
Chan and Zuckerberg funded two neutral groups that assisted local governments and states, guaranteeing individuals’ rights to vote, irrespective of their party or preference, according to Mark’s spokesperson, Ben LaBolt.
CTCL The Mark Zuckerberg Grant Is Considered A "Contract Without Competition" Reason Being That A Good Amount Of Known Grants Went To Georgia Counties And Contracts Associated With Elections Had Only One Bidder For The Contract.. pic.twitter.com/hxKje5p8rc
— J̵̟̦̲̞̭̱̀̈́͑̄̇̈́̚͝ustice (@The_Justice7) July 14, 2021
Zuckerberg and Chan also contributed $69.5 million to the Center for Election Innovation and Research.
COVID-19 increased mail-in voting. It prompted states, municipalities, and other authorities to confront and alleviate the significant problems of running elections created by the epidemic.
However, CTCL elicited the most significant mistrust, particularly among Trump supporters hostile to the widespread use of mail-in voting and other unorthodox voting techniques.
Former President Trump maintained only in-person voting could ensure a democratic election. He lost to Biden and continues to allege the race was rigged, despite no proof to support his assertion.
LaBolt underlined that CTCL, created in 2015, has a nonpartisan board. This board made an open call to state and local authorities around the country and funded all applicants. A community could receive a grant of up to $5,000.
LaBolt, a veteran Democrat political manager for former President Obama, noted while Zuckerberg and Chan supplied a share of the overall grant cash to CTCL, they did not choose which counties received money or how much each received.
Despite this, the pair hired Toner to analyze the 2020 funding and enlisted the services of Brian Baker, a renowned Republican operative in Washington. Baker, a contract consultant to Zuckerberg and Chan, has connections throughout the GOP.