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Louisiana AG wins appeal against 'corrosive' Zuckerbucks politicizing election administration

Private donations from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg were used "to manipulate state law in a way that they could harvest ballots," asserts Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

Published: April 6, 2022 2:57pm

Updated: April 8, 2022 11:10pm

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry won an appeal last week against private, "Zuckerbucks"-style funding for state elections, arguing that it's not the government's job "to entice people to go vote."

Landry told the John Solomon Reports podcast on Tuesday that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckberberg, who spent nearly $400 million on city and county voting operations in the 2020 presidential election, found loopholes in the law.

"He found the creases in the seams, and he found a way to manipulate the laws," Landry said. "In Louisiana, we saw it coming. We filed suit against him, right? We kept a bulk of the money out of the state of Louisiana."

By the time Landry filed the lawsuit in October 2020, more than 20 officials in the state had applied for Zuckerbucks through the Center for Tech and Civic Life, but after he warned that the grants were illegal, most of them stopped pursuing them, according to The Federalist. The parishes of Orleans and Calcasieu were exceptions, accepting more than $810,000 in grants.

Landry's lawsuit was initially dismissed, but the appellate court reversed the lower court's decision on March 30, sending it back to the trial court.

"And then we had a judge who didn't agree with us, that said, 'Oh, well, I think these clerks can take this money,'" Landry said. "And so we took that case to the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and we had a three-judge panel, and in a 3-0 decision, they sent it back to the courts and said, 'No, the state has a right to bring this case forward.'

"And we believe — they kind of virtue-signaled — that this source of funding could be prohibited under state law. So we look forward to going to the trial court and basically conducting discovery, and doing some depositions, so we can see what exactly is going on."

While the Zuckerbucks were purportedly for PPE and helping municipalities run elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, Landry said he had "absolutely" no doubt that they were used for more than that.

"[W]e would hope that every state conducts an audit as to how the money exactly was spent," he said, "because the money was supposed to be earmarked originally for PPE, and to make the election so safe — safer, based upon the pandemic that they used as an excuse."

However, "that money was not used there, that money was used to be able to manipulate state law in a way that they could harvest ballots," Landry claimed, citing both the Wisconsin special counsel report and the newly released Citizen's United documentary "Rigged: The Zuckerberg Funded Plot to Defeat Donald Trump." "And that is problematic. If it is legal, it should not be legal, right? So if it's lawful, it certainly is awful. But I think, I think that in many states, you would find that they actually broke the law."

"The government's job is to ensure that every legal voter has an opportunity to go to the polls, and that every legal vote is counted," Landry explained. "It is not the government's job to entice people to go vote, and Mark Zuckerberg and them found a way" to do that. "[A]gain, whether they were legal votes or not, is questionable."

The "court got it right," he added. "We do not need this kind of activity in our election system — it's corrosive, all it does is make people leery about our system, and then it breeds discredibility within the government. And so, we don't need it. If you're going to have a democracy, the elections have to be fair, they have to be transparent, and we have to know that every legal vote is going to be counted."

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