Wisconsin Elections Commission vote on Zuckbucks not unanimous, commissioners missed email

If there aren't at least two objections to a decision, which allows the chair to call a meeting, then the decision is automatically released.

Updated: December 10, 2021 - 10:53pm

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The Wisconsin Elections Commission decision that Zuckerbucks weren't illegal wasn't unanimous, as two of the commissioners missed the email with the draft of the decision.

("Zuckerbucks" refers to an estimated $400 million in private funds Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated to local election officials in the 2020 election, heavily favoring Democratic over Republican jurisdictions, in what critics say was a carefully targeted attempt to gain control of public election administration machinery in key districts to sway the election outcome.)

According to Commissioner Bob Spindell, both he and Commissioner Dean Knudson would've called for a meeting to discuss the decision, but they missed the initial email, which was sent on Nov. 29.

Knudson explained to Just the News that since outside counsel sent the "draft copy of their proposed decision letter" and he didn't recognize it, he treated it as spam. He said he "will seek changes in procedure to help avoid a repeat of my mistake in future similar cases."

Spindell shared with Just the News an email he sent saying the "final decision" letters sent out Wednesday evening weren't seen by him or Knudson "until much later." The next morning, Spindell sent an email requesting all five decisions the WEC had before them to be discussed in a meeting.

What Spindell didn't initially realize was that the Wednesday email had also sent the final decisions to attorney Eric Kaardal of conservative public interest law firm the Thomas More Society, which is representing the Wisconsin Voter Alliance, which is challenging the $8.8 million the Center for Tech and Civic Life, funded by Mark Zuckerberg, donated to local election managers in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Racine, and Kenosha.

The commissioner added that if there are at least two objections to a decision, then it is up to the chair to call a meeting. Otherwise, the decisions are released. Spindell told Just the News that he is still requesting a meeting on the decision that has already been adopted.

If the commission had met and split 3-3 on the decision (the commission is made up of three Democrats and three Republicans), nothing would have happened, and litigation would've been delayed, Spindell explained. As things now stand, he acknowledged, at least Kaardal is able to appeal the commission decision to circuit court judges, Spindell said.

He added that he was going to work with administration today to make sure this doesn't happen again, saying that with important matters like this, the commission should wait for confirmation that all the commissioners receive the decisions before making them final.

Neither the chair of WEC nor Kaardal immediately responded to requests for comment.

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