Today, the Arizona State Senate passed House Bill 2569. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Jack Hoffman, prohibits state and local election officials from accepting third-party, private funding in future elections. HB 2569 now heads to Governor Ducey’s desk. The Opportunity Solutions Project (OSP) applauds the Arizona legislature’s efforts to ban third-party interference in state elections and encourages Governor Ducey to sign this legislation into law.
HB 2569 responds to the use of outside, targeted funding in local elections. During the 2020 election, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, donated more than $350 million to the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL), a progressive-run organization. These dollars, which some refer to as “Zuckerbucks” were sent to local jurisdictions as “COVID-19 response grants” to help states address the unique health and safety issues of the past election.
Arizona received more than $5 million in funding from the CTCL, more than half of which was granted to Maricopa County, the only county in the state to flip in the 2020 election. Instead of using the grants on intended COVID-19-related expenses such as personal protective equipment (PPE), in many situations these funds went to unrelated expenses including get-out-to-vote efforts, bilingual voter education videos, vehicles, and personnel salaries—with some jurisdictions across the country reporting no funds allocated to PPE. Evidence from public records requests also suggests these cash infusions were allocated to jurisdictions in a manner that specifically improved Democrat performance.
“Now that we know the true influence of ‘Zuckerbucks’ grants, the Arizona legislature is absolutely right to prohibit third-party funding in local elections,” said Bryan Sunderland, a visiting fellow at the Opportunity Solutions Project. “Local elections can and should be funded and managed by locals—rather than out-of-state billionaires—and today’s vote is a critical safeguard against election manipulation. For the sake of transparency and restoring trust in our democratic process, we strongly encourage Governor Ducey to sign this bill into law”.
HB 2569 will allow Arizona to better regulate and distribute funds, so that voters in jurisdictions across the state receive the assistance needed during local, state, and federal elections. The Opportunity Solutions Project supports all efforts to ensure that election reforms provide Americans with transparent, secure elections to protect the voice of all voters.
The Opportunity Solutions Project is a non–profit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that specializes in health care, welfare, and work reform. To learn more, visit solutionsproject.org.