New Georgia Bill Protects Elections from Out-of-State Billionaires

Tallahassee, FL — Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has the opportunity to sign powerful, important legislation into law that would close loopholes nefarious special-interest groups were using to sidestep election laws to prevent out-of-state billionaires’ funding of local elections.

After the 2020 election, Georgia passed comprehensive, commonsense election integrity legislation that, among many other important reforms, banned third-party funding of local elections. Georgia was one of the largest recipients of “Zuckerbucks,” with Mark Zuckerberg and the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) funneling more than $45 million into predominantly left-leaning jurisdictions. Unfortunately, the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence (launched by CTCL) found a loophole in Georgia’s election law and funneled a $2 million grant to dark-blue DeKalb County at the end of 2022. This was in addition to the $10 million that DeKalb County accepted from CTCL during the 2020 election cycle.

Sponsored by Senator Max Burns, SB 222 will close this loophole and strengthen Georgia’s election integrity efforts. SB 222 reduces outside influence in Georgia elections by requiring that all costs related to elections must be paid for with lawfully appropriated public funds. No government employee may solicit, take, or otherwise accept from any person a contribution, donation, service, or anything else of value for the purpose of conducting elections or performing their election-related duties.

“Georgia knows best how to manage Georgia elections,” said Katie Rodgers, Visiting Fellow at OSP. “Thanks to the leadership of Lt. Governor Jones, Senator Burns, and Rep. Gaines these commonsense reforms could turn Georgia’s ‘Zuckerbucks’ ban into the gold standard for the rest of the country to follow—if Governor Kemp does the right thing and signs it into law. Strengthening this law will ensure Big Tech billionaires and other special interests won’t be able to peddle undue influence on election administration in the Peach State.”