The Louisiana House of Representatives took a giant step towards ridding the state of the scourge of private funding pouring into statewide elections. In particular, that of Meta co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
HB 311, which is a new constitutional amendment proposal, would prohibit the injection of funds or services from “a foreign government or a nongovernmental source.”
It breezed through the House with an overwhelming 70-30 vote, clearing the two-thirds majority needed to advance a proposed amendment to the state constitution.
If it clears the Senate by the necessary two-thirds majority, it will be placed on the ballot for voters to either ratify or reject.
Concerns rose in the 2020 cycle when hundreds of millions of dollars were poured into elections by Zuckerberg. These so-called “Zuckbucks” were funneled into nonprofits such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) and from there into local election offices.
Lawsuit Exposes Arabella Advisors and Zuckerberg Meddling in Louisiana’s Elections https://t.co/kh8jPfYBTi
— AZSuburbs 🌵 (@noprezzie2012) June 12, 2021
These funds targeted battleground states and supported efforts to fundamentally change how U.S. elections are conducted.
In particular, the private money propped up such non-supervised election methods as mail-in voting and drop boxes.
Interestingly, Louisiana was rather unscathed by Zuckerbucks compared to nearby battleground states in the 2020 presidential election. Just over $1 million flowed in to influence local elections there. Of course, incumbent President Donald Trump held a commanding lead in the Bayou State.
The same could not be said for Florida and Georgia. Almost $17 million of the Meta CEO’s money went pouring into only 11 Florida counties, and Georgia received a whopping $45 million.
How targeted were the Zuckerbucks in Florida? A full 78% of counties that went for Hillary Clinton received millions from CTCL. Now, contrast that with only 7% of those that voted for Trump in 2016. The breakdown in spending in Georgia came along similar lines.
These dollars in the form of grants had the desired effect of boosting Democratic turnout.
All of this, of course, was done under the guise of assisting states conducting the election during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tide may be turning, at least in red states. At least 25 have moved to prevent large infusions of private cash being poured into elections.