Georgia State Rep. Joseph Gullett introduced a bill to the GA House of Representatives that would ban private funding for the administration of federal, state, and local elections.

As previously reported by 100% FED Up, hundreds of millions of dollars from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg were used to violate election laws, according to a new report.

The Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society, a national constitutional litigation organization, released the 39-page report, alleging that Zuckerberg’s $500 million given to election officials was used to treat voters unequally and to improperly influence the election for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

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The bulk of the funds went to the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), a nonprofit started by former managers and staff at the New Organizing Institute, a progressive nonprofit.

According to the report, the nonprofit earlier this year “began sending agents into states to recruit certain Democrat strongholds to prepare grants requesting monies from” it.

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“The provision of Zuckerberg-CTCL funds allowed these Democrat strongholds to spend roughly $47 per voter, compared to $4 to $7 per voter in traditionally Republican areas of the state. Moreover, this recruiting of targeted jurisdictions for specific government action and funding runs contrary to legislative election plans and invites government to play favorites in the election process.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported:

State Rep. Joseph Gullett, a Republican from Dallas, said taxpayers and their governments should fund elections administration, not nonprofit groups.

Gullett introduced his legislation after the Center for Tech and Civic Life awarded grants to several county election offices in Georgia. The group is funded by Zuckerberg and philanthropist Priscilla Chan, who is married to Zuckerberg.

The money went toward elections staffing, “hazard pay”, absentee ballot postage costs, equipment, voter outreach and personal protective gear.

“That money was beneficial to the counties, but one role of government is to run elections, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to allow outside organizations to do it,” said Gullett, a former member of the Paulding County elections board. “We want as little influence on elections as possible.”

The AJC legislative navigator, which gives the bill an 11 percent probability of passing, describes the bill as follows:

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 2 of Title 21 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to primaries and elections generally, so as to prohibit boards of elections, boards of elections and registration, local election superintendents, and county boards of registrars from accepting or expending private funds; to provide that such local elections officials can only accept lawful appropriations of public funds or authorized fees; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Key components of HB 62, cosponsored by  State Rep. Alan Powell, State Rep. Martin Momtahan, State Rep. Rick Williams, State Rep. Matthew Gambill, and State Rep. Philip Singleton, are as follows:

  • A board of elections or board of elections and registration established pursuant to this subpart shall only be authorized to accept funding from lawful appropriations of public funds from the government of the United States, the State of Georgia, or a Georgia county municipality. No such board of elections or board of elections and registration shall be authorized to accept or expend any grant, gift, or funding from private persons, corporations, organizations, partnerships, registered political parties, or political bodies.
  • A superintendent of a county or municipality shall only be authorized to accept funding from lawful appropriations of public funds from the government of the United States, the State of Georgia, or a Georgia county or municipality. No such superintendent shall be authorized to accept or expend any grant, gift, or funding from private persons, corporations, organizations, partnerships, registered political parties, or political bodies.
  • A county board of registrars shall only be authorized to accept funding from lawful appropriations of public funds from the government of the United States, the State of Georgia, or a Georgia county or municipality. No county board of registrars shall be authorized to accept or expend any grant, gift, or funding from private persons,  corporations, organizations, partnerships, registered political parties, or political bodies.
The bill has been referred to the House Special Committee on Election Integrity, according to Breitbart News.
Should HB 62 become law, CTCL or any other private group will be prohibited by law from providing funding directly to county officials for the administration of any elections–either state or federal–in Georgia after its enactment. It may allow such groups to provide donations to the Georgia state government, but in such cases, expenditures to counties would only be allowed if the earmarked donations were then appropriated by the Georgia State Legislature.

A companion bill has not yet been introduced in the State Senate, though State Sen. Jeff Mullis has introduced seven election-related bills that could possibly be modified during the session to include the provisions included in HB 62.

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