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Zuckerberg-funded nonprofit paid $11.8 million to democrat political consulting firms for ‘nonpartisan voter education’ in Michigan 2020 election.

A Mark Zuckerberg-funded nonprofit, the Center for Election Innovation and Research, gave a virtually inactive Michigan nonprofit, The Michigan Center for Election Law and Administration, a $12 million grant in September 2020 for the putative purpose of helping voters figure out how to navigate the supposed complexities of mail-in ballots, as The Michigan Star reported in April 2021.

Ninety-nine percent of the $12 million grant – more than $11.8 million – was used to pay two highly partisan Democrat political consulting firms, according to the Michigan Center for Election Law and Administration (MCELA) Form 990 for the year 2020 filed with the Internal Revenue Service in May of this year.

In the MCELA Form 990, the non-profit reported that it had started the year with zero (0) dollars of cash on hand and had received zero contributions in 2019. But then in 2020, it received $12,040,000 in “contributions and grants,” namely the huge one-time gift from the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR).

MCELA started the year on January 1, 2020 with no money in the bank, received $12,040,000 from the Zuckerberg-funded CEIR some time between September 1, 2020 and October 15, 2020, spent $11,889,365 in the last few months of 2020, and ended up with just $150,635 cash on hand on December 31, 2020.

There were only two expenditures reported in 2020 by MCELA, both for “media strategy and purchase.” The biggest, for $9,799,407, went to Waterfront Strategies in Washington, D.C., a firm that specializes in handling media buys for Democrat and left-wing interest groups. Waterfront Strategies is an in-house subsidiary of GMMB, the largest Democratic consulting firm in the United States. GMMB was instrumental in electing Barack Obama and countless other Democrat office holders.

The remaining $2,088,000 in reported expenditures went to Alper Strategies of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, which is also a Democrat controlled organization. Founder Jill Alper was previously the political director and coordinated campaign director of the Democratic National Committee.

The two firms received a total of $11,887,407 from MCELA for “advertising and promotion,” according to the Form 990. Only a tiny fraction was spent on anything other than advertising and promotion. An additional $1,217 was spent on insurance, and $741 was spent on miscellaneous expenditures.

No member of the board of directors – including President Jen McKernan – received any compensation, so no one one was apparently paid to manage the two Democratic political consulting firms who were paid $11,887,407 to “educate voters.”

This unusual arrangement suggests that MCELA was merely a pass-through vehicle to get the funds to the Democratic political consulting firms, and that no one had oversight authority over how they spent the funds.

Considering that the declared purpose of the MCELA on its most recent annual report is “nonpartisan voter education,” it raises questions – at the very least – why the nonprofit spent all its money on high-powered Democrat consultants.

By Frank Daniel Miele

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