A special counsel appointed by the State of Wisconsin has reported to the state legislature that grant money originating from Mark Zuckerberg was directed to Democratic organizations in violation of Wisconsin state law outlawing bribery.
The conclusion that almost $9 million in Zuckerberg funds were used in violation of law was one of several adverse findings presented by the Office of Special Counsel on Tuesday. The particular counsel group is led by retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman and was directed last August to investigate concerns about the integrity of the 2020 election in the state.
Gableman’s report made specific recommendations to the legislature but said that it is not issued in an attempt to recount or relitigate the election. The report noted that its purpose was to help take steps toward “securing democracy for this generation and the next.”
The report said the special counsel found “numerous questionable and unlawful actions” by various persons and groups involved in the election. The first significant issue addressed was the payment of grant funds to five counties to facilitate voting. The arrangement violated a section of the Wisconsin election code prohibiting bribery by providing any item of value to a person to induce them to vote.
The report identified Milwaukee, Madison, Racine, Kenosha, and Green Bay Counties as the “Zuckerberg 5.” Those counties received the grant funds through the Center for Tech and Civic Life funded by “Zuck Bucks.” The grant funds were used to pay for illegal vote drop boxes in heavily Democratic precincts.
The special counsel’s report stated that the use of drop boxes violates the election code’s rules about how ballots may be cast. The law says that a voter must personally mail or deliver an absentee ballot to a municipal clerk.
The report also said the Zuckerberg 5 violated the constitutional guarantees of equal protection of the law found in the state and federal constitutions. The grant funds were used to provide special privileges to sure preferred voters. The report also said that the Center for Tech and Civic Life was permitted to unlawfully “administer certain parts of the election.”
The Center for Tech and Civic Life told reporters that the “so-called report” is nothing more than a rehash of arguments from “more than a dozen frivolous lawsuits” it says were only filed to smear the grant program.
Among the recommendations coming from the special counsel’s report is the dissolution of the Wisconsin Election Commission to ensure uniform election security across the state. As other litigation about the 2020 election continues, the public awaits the legislature’s response to the report.