RealClear Investigations recently did a deep dive into “Big Philanthropy” and its advances in becoming “a Big Player in the Private Funding of Public Elections.” So let’s discuss that, and what it can mean for you – fellow voting American citizens. Their investigation dug into the Audacious Project, a subgroup of the TED Foundation, and the Center for Tech and Civic Life, further called CTCL, and their $80 million donation to grant funding at local election levels.
What is the Audacious Project and CTCL?
- The Audacious Project is a nonprofit organization that is supported by the likes of the Gates and MacArthur Foundations, and the Bridgespan Group.
- Side note: a client of the Bridgespan Group is Planned Parenthood.
- The Audacious Project committed, according to RealClear Investigations, $80 million to the Center for Tech and Civil Life, CTCL.
- CTCL is a progressive organization, that will be attempting to provide grant funding to run local elections with the $80 million.
How will the CTCL actually distribute the multimillion-dollar grant funding?
- They plan to send operatives to local election offices where they will, according to RealClear Investigations, “examine practices and equipment, and acquire the sorts of data coveted by political campaigns.
If that sounds shady, you read it correctly. They will be essentially on an information hunt in some of the most sensitive areas. Doug Lewis, the former Executive Director of the Elections Center, has said “I would be a little worried about turning over poll books and voting software to anybody that wasn’t hired by an elections office…even if this all starts with the right intentions, there’s too much opportunity for manipulation.” He mentioned that he would be worried about turning election material and software, that isn’t public record, over to people that weren’t hired by an elections office. If you haven’t noticed we in the US try to keep election material sensitive, especially SOFTWARE. There is too much of a risk of this sort of material getting into the wrong hands and causing serious issues for our country and the results of future elections.
The approach of the CTCL is raising questions, rightly so, and concerns from those who are being targeted for the funding.
While the CTCL was the focus of great controversy in 2020 after Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Pricilla Chan donated millions of dollars to help run elections during the pandemic. With many even objecting things that were going on with this agreement were unlawful. The CTCL lived to see another day, and start an even larger scam.
As of now, 24 states and 12 counties have prohibited election offices from accepting funding from the CTCL. Though a few Democratic governors in three states, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Michigan, have overrode the legislation in an attempt to opt into the process of taking the funding and in return handing over information.
If you thought that was bad enough. Don’t hold your breath. The CTCL took things one step further when in April they created a consortium – the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence – that for an annual fee would provide assistance to, you guessed it, election offices. According to RealClear Investigations, the consortium would provide assistance, online tutorials, consulting, and other services on an as-needed basis for a subscription. Those prices ranging from a basic alliance membership of $1,600 a year, to a premium membership of $4,800 a year. And in May they launched the service by reaching out and advertising it to local election offices.
What might be even more questionable, as if you needed something else to question, is the fact that the CTCL has claimed they are a ‘transparent’ group, though have continually REFUSED to provide even basic information about its operations. Where you take that is really up to you, but let’s summarize:
- The CTCL is funded by progressive organizations and in the past has even been funded by media giant, Facebook.
- They attempted to gain access to sensitive voting information – including election software.
- They were blocked by legislation, though even that didn’t fully stop them.
- In an attempt to hit the states where legislation did block the group, they opened a consortium which would allow state election offices to “subscribe” to their services for fee.
- And on top of it all, the CTCL – who has claimed they are a transparent company – has refused to provide their basic operating information to the public.