Mark Zuckerberg recently donated $350 million to an election non-profit being sued for targeting grant funds to cities in Democratic strongholds. The Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) has awarded at least $25 million in grants to Democratic cities in in swing-states, according to the non-profit suing the CTCL.
The CTCL announced Mark Zuckerberg , CEO of Facebook, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated $250 million to the organization on September 1 and an additional $100 million on October 13. Publicly available grant award letters outline the funds will be used to quadruple the number of polling places in Democratic strongholds
The Amistad Project filed lawsuit against four states that have received grants from CTCL on September 24th. The second donation of $100 million from Zuckerberg and his wife came after this filing.
Citing data about the awarded grants and data from the 2016 election, the filing argues the funds are intended to provide additional resources to Democratic stronghold cities and drive turn-out. The Amistad Project released the chart below showing over $25 million in grants went to cities in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan whose population voted for overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The lawsuit alleges the municipal public/private partnerships are illegal under federal election law. Federal election law gives the 50 states and the territories sole authority of deciding how election law will be implemented. The lawsuit argues Federal and state statutes override the municipalities’ plans and that the cities acted outside of the law when receiving the CTCL grants. The filing states that the founders of CTCL all previously worked at the New Organizing Institute (NOI), which trained the digital campaign organizers for progressive groups and Democratic campaigns. NOI is responsible for creating the RootsCamp conference whose past speakers included Representative Ilhan Omar and Senator Elizabeth Warren. NOI dissolved in 2015 after internal conflicts about the CEO.