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Georgia Senate passes bill to close 'Zuckbucks' loophole

The bill now goes to the Georgia House for consideration.

Published: March 4, 2023 4:52pm

Updated: March 4, 2023 5:33pm

The Georgia Senate has passed a bill to prohibit local election offices from using private funding to conduct elections, after election officials reportedly used a loophole to accept the money.

The bill stipulates "costs and expenses related to conducting primaries, elections, runoffs, or other undertakings authorized or required by [state law] shall be paid from lawfully appropriated public funds."

It also states no county or municipal government, government employee or election official shall "solicit, take, or otherwise accept from any person a contribution, donation, service or anything else of value for the purpose of conducting primaries or elections or in support of performing his or her duties under this chapter."

If the measure is signed into law, an official who accepted such funds prior to the law's implementation would be required to return the gift to the entity within 14 days, according to The Federalist.

The bill now goes to the Georgia House for consideration.

The bill was introduced after DeKalb County recently announced it had been selected to join the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, after the county’s commissioners accepted a $2 million grant from the Center for Tech and Civic Life.

The alliance is an $80 million venture started last year by liberal nonprofits.

Georgia Republicans passed a law in 2021 banning the private funding of local election offices, but DeKalb officials reportedly used a loophole in the statute to justify accepting the grant from the Alliance, The Federalist also reports.

During the 2020 election, groups such as CTCL received hundreds of millions of dollars from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg – so-called "Zuckerbucks" – and reportedly gave $350 million to 2,500 election departments across 47 states.

Republicans have argued that allowing private individuals and companies to fund official election practices will open the door to corruption. 

Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis in April 2022 banned "Zuckerbucks." 

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