A Wisconsin judge has ruled that the money from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg aimed at helping election procedures in the state was lawful
Dane County Circuit Judge Stephen Ehlke said that Wisconsin law does not restrict municipalities from obtaining outside funding to help administer elections, dealing a legal blow to conservatives who sought to challenge the so-called “Zuck bucks” in court.
The Washington Examiner reports:
“There is nothing in the record demonstrating that the CTCL money was used to disadvantage certain populations over others,” Ehlke said, per the Associated Press. “Quite obviously, the Legislature introduced this bill because nothing in existing Wisconsin law prohibited these things.”
Ehlke referenced a law passed by the Republican-led state legislature that would prohibit the use of private grants in administering elections to reinforce his finding that Wisconsin law did not prohibit private assistance. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed that bill.
The challenge was brought by the Thomas More Society, a conservative law firm. The group argued that the five Wisconsin cities that accepted funding from the Center for Tech and Civic Life — Madison, Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, and Green Bay — violated state laws against bribery. The group previously filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Elections Commission over the donations, but the WEC rejected it.
During the 2020 election cycle, the Center for Tech and Civic Life doled out over $10 million to Wisconsin municipalities, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Conservative groups such as the Thomas More Society honed in on the five major cities that received funding, as they favored President Joe Biden over former President Donald Trump during the last election. Those cities received roughly $8.8 million of that funding, according to the Associated Press.
While Wisconsin went for Biden over Trump by fewer than 21,000 votes, money donated from the Center for Tech and Civic Life to Wisconsin municipalities has long been subject to scrutiny from conservatives in the state.