Judge rules Zuckerberg-backed Wisconsin election grants are legal

A Wisconsin judge has ruled that grants from a nonprofit funded by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to assist in administering election procedures during the pandemic are legal.

According to a report by The Washington Examiner Dane County Circuit Judge Stephen Ehlke has ruled that there is no Wisconsin law that restricts municipalities from receiving outside funding for elections

The decision is a legal blow to conservatives protesting the funding infusion, calling the funds “Zuck bucks” in court.

The suit was in an attempt to ensure that there was no way for businesses or foundations to influence how elections were administered, thereby influencing the fairness of the election.

“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.”

The judge cited a law passed by the Republican-led state legislature that prohibits the use of private grants in administering the elections when shoring up his findings that the law did not prohibit private assistance.

“The challenge was brought by the Thomas More Society, a conservative law firm,” the Examiner reported. “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.”

Questions about the ethical nature of the grants came up during the 2020 election cycle when the Center for Tech and Civic Life doled out over $10 million to Wisconsin municipalities, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

This caused conservative groups such as the Thomas More Society to receive funding in cities where President Joe Biden was eventually found to be favored over former President Donald Trump.