Senate considers bill to ban ‘Zuckerbucks’ in Minnesota elections

The Center for Tech and Civic Life, a nonprofit funded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, injected $7.1 million into Minnesota's election system in 2020.

Sen. Mark Koran discusses his new bill during a Senate committee meeting Tuesday. (Minnesota Senate Media/YouTube)

The Minnesota Senate is considering a bill that would prohibit cities and counties from accepting outside money to help run their elections, a move designed to limit the influence of so-called “Zuckerbucks.”

IRS filings show that the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a nonprofit funded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, injected $7.1 million into Minnesota’s election system in 2020.

The group spent $350 million nationwide in 2020 on grants to help election officials administer safe elections during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CTCL’s website states that the grants could also be used for “voter education and outreach efforts” and expanding “the number of in-person early voting sites.”

The biggest recipients in Minnesota were Hennepin County, Minneapolis, and Ramsey County — which all received $1 million or more.

At the national level, Republicans introduced the “End Zuckerbucks Act,” which would strip nonprofits of their tax-exempt status for providing direct funding to state and local election officials.

“Mark Zuckerberg channeled $350 million to government agencies during the 2020 election with zero transparency or accountability, and he used the Center for Tech and Civic Life to do it, a left-leaning nonprofit,” Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney, one of the bill’s sponsors, previously told the Daily Caller.

“CTCL said the money was for [personal protective equipment], but it was actually used for Get Out the Vote efforts and electioneering. It is no surprise that the vast majority of CTCL’s ‘Zuckerbucks’ ended up in predominantly Democratic counties,” she added.

Now, Sen. Mark Koran is carrying a bill at the state level that would ban cities, counties, and school districts from accepting contributions from nonprofits or businesses for the purpose of conducting elections.

“What this bill does is really common sense: it ensures that no outside money is used, which is imperative to keeping our elections fair and transparent and as accessible as possible,” Koran said during a Tuesday hearing.

“It’s shocking that so many cities allowed this undue influence in their election process,” he added.

Koran said 14 other states have passed similar bills since the 2020 election. The Republican senator believes CTCL is clearly taking advantage of a “loophole” in campaign finance laws.