Lawsuit claims Michigan election chief illegally accepted Zuckerberg money to swing 2020 election

Democrat Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is focus of lawsuit.

Updated: February 16, 2022 - 7:31pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A lawsuit filed against Democrat Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson asserts she illegally accepted private money for the 2020 presidential election to swing the election for President Joe Biden.

The Chicago-based Thomas More Society filed the lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims, alleging Benson violated election law by spending private election funding on partisan purposes that denied Michigan voters’ constitutional equal access voting rights.

The Center Square previously reported Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan contributed $400 million nationwide into the 2020 election through their Chicago-based nonprofit, the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL).

The 166-page filing claims that nearly half of CTCL’s funds flowed to Democrat-dominated areas where Biden won. For example, the lawsuit says CTCL made 19 payments exceeding $100,000 all to jurisdictions that Biden carried in 2020.

The lawsuit cites an America Public Media report finding some cities spent little of the money on personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Michigan Legislature aimed to ban private funding of public elections via Senate Bill 303, which Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed in 2021.

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Thor Hearne said that Benson spent CTCL money to boost Democrat-dominated areas in the 2020 election via increased mail-in voting and ballot harvesting.

“The Michigan Constitution guarantees every eligible citizen the right of equal protection when it comes to voting, and that means state officials may not put in place an election scheme that enhances the weight of votes cast by one class of voters or increases one favored class of voters’ access to the ballot,” Hearne said in a statement. “That’s just what happened here. Analysis of data that the Center for Tech and Civic Life provided to the Internal Revenue Service and other public records demonstrates that this scheme was designed to favor urban areas in Michigan and to disadvantage Michigan voters in rural and suburban more politically conservative areas.”

Hearne said the lawsuit aims to set the rules for future elections, not past elections.

“This case is not about relitigating the 2020 election,” Hearne said. “It is about making sure that these unfair and illegal activities cannot happen in any future election in Michigan. As Michigan’s chief election official, Secretary Benson is responsible for ensuring that every eligible Michigan voter has an equal right and opportunity to cast a ballot.”

A CNN report says 11 Republican-led states have prohibited private money from funding public elections.

Thomas More Society attorneys are representing Wisconsin voters in a similar lawsuit.

“The only way Michigan residents can stop a high-tech billionaire from California from directing the conduct of Michigan’s 2022 election is for the Michigan voters and citizens to prevail in this case against Secretary of State Benson,” Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel Tom Brejcha said in a statement.

Just the News Spotlight