Mark Zuckerberg is best known for creating and leading Facebook, a company that’s made him one of the wealthiest men in the world. With an estimated worth of $80 billion, he poured hundreds of millions of his fortune into the 2020 election.
Here’s the thing: You probably had no idea at the time Zuckerberg was influencing the outcome of the most contentious presidential election in our lifetime. That’s because we didn’t learn the true extent of Zuckerberg’s financial contributions until the voting already took place.
Now, thanks to a new 40-minute documentary film from Citizens United Productions, we know what he did and how to prevent it from happening again.
Citizens United President David Bossie hosts and narrates the film, “Rigged: The Zuckerberg-Funded Plot to Defeat Donald Trump.” He joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” with director Jason Killian Meath. Listen to the full show or read a lightly edited transcript of our interview below.
Rob Bluey: David, let’s start with you. How did Mark Zuckerberg help defeat Donald Trump, and how did he get away with it?
David Bossie: Such a great question. What most people don’t know, and I would think that most people listening to this right now don’t know, is that Mark Zuckerberg spent $400 million in the 2020 election cycle, and he spent it specifically in just the last several months of the campaign through nonprofits.
He sent his money through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which is he and his wife’s operation. They sent the money to these two very hardcore left-wing organizations, the Center for Tech and Civic Life and one other.
CTCL, the Center for Tech and Civic Life, received about $327 million. Just to put it in perspective, their budget in 2019 was $1 million. Their budget for 2020 was $328 million. It’s just an incredible flow of money that came in there.
Their money went out in these grants to state and local election officials. They basically used that money for a giant, massive Democrat get-out-the-vote effort using the drop boxes and mail-in ballots and absentee ballot programs to generate votes for Joe Biden.
I submit that if Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t spend the $400 million in the last three or four months of the campaign, Joe Biden does not win.
Bluey: What was it that inspired you to make this film? We’ve heard President Trump talk about the stolen election. We’ve had other people talk about a rigged election. This must have been a massive undertaking on your part to wade through documents and information that many people in the legacy media would have just easily ignored.
Bossie: Yeah, they have, much like the Hunter Biden laptop story. They suppress these stories. They don’t want to tell the stories. They don’t cover the stories. These are important issues. The biased corporate media that we live in and with today, they decide what the American people know and what they don’t know.
Much like half of America that voted and supported Donald Trump, I was frustrated, and I felt like there needed to be an answer to this thirst out there in America, this passion that has made election integrity, which is kind of a boring subject and most people don’t care about it.
It’s not in the top five or top 10 issues in America when you look at the polling data. Election integrity is now at the top of polls especially Republican primary voters. They don’t want to vote for somebody who is not going to take a position to answer and solve the problems of what happened in the past.
So with that question out there and my relationship with President Trump that has been longstanding, we decided that we would try to take this on. It was only through the process of making it did we understand the actual narrative.
This is my third film with Jason Meath. His ability to put this together, his ability to see the narrative and that forest through the trees because it’s so detail-oriented. But you have to keep it interesting and high level while at the same time giving them the granular detail that’s necessary for people to understand and feel like they took away something. It’s a real art form, and it’s really hard to do. My writing partner on this, Jason Meath, did an amazing job on it.
Bluey: Jason, how are you able to uncover the information that’s featured in the film?
Jason Killian Meath: I always know that when I’m going into one of these projects, it’s going to be meticulously researched and sourced, and we are not going to leave anything to chance and going to be very thorough. And that is certainly the case here.
I received a call from Dave, I would say a little bit before Thanksgiving last year. And he told me about this Mark Zuckerberg money. I had to Google it because I had maybe heard a little bit about, but the mainstream press really just doesn’t cover this.
I started researching it. We started talking, as we were planning the pre-production of the film, more facts were coming out about this because there’re numerous investigations and various folks in various election integrity outfits that were looking at this. Scott Walter’s Capital Research Center was looking at various aspects of the Zuckerberg-funded money that went into the election.
And so I started learning pretty much at the same time as making the film, what we were really talking about and what really had transpired in 2020. And the more I learned, really the more shocked I was and really knew that we had a story here that needed to get out.
There’s been talk about this. There was a book called “Rigged” as well that detailed some of this and it was very good. So we were able to follow some of the tax filings, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and CTCL were putting out there that also helped guide us as to where this money was distributed.
Bluey: It’s a captivating film. It’s really beneficial for a lot of our Daily Signal listeners and our audience who asks us all of the time for this evidence, and now you’ve given them a real blockbuster film to do that. President Trump was at your premier at Mar-a-Lago. He also stars in the film. Who are some of the other people who you interviewed, and what information do you bring to light in the film itself?
Bossie: Folks can go to rigged2020.com, and you can stream it on any device anywhere in the world at any time. I urge you do that. You can go there just to watch the trailer. You can watch and read about the film.
You can learn about our incredible cast from Ken Blackwell to Ken Cuccinelli to Cleta Mitchell to Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, Congressman Jody Hice. We have Newt Gingrich and Kellyanne Conway, and of course, President Trump in the film. We have Michael Gableman, who is a former Supreme Court justice in Wisconsin and the special counsel appointed by the state legislature, conducting his investigation. It is a really star-studded cast. The interviews and the narrative that we were able to tell through those interviews really is very powerful.
Then, of course, the documentation of it. We gained access to this information not through any other way other than the Center for Tech and Civic Life’s own IRS 990 forms, which were just filed this January, so it’s only been three or four months since we’ve had really access to the detail of it.
In those tax returns in Wisconsin, as an example, it showed grants to Kenosha of $860,000, $1.1 million to both Green Bay and Madison, $1.7 million to Racine, and $3.4 million to Milwaukee. Those are three Democrat strongholds in the state. It was about 85% of the money, of Zuckerberg’s money that in the state went to Biden-controlled districts.
By the way, the Zuckerberg defenders say that a majority of the grants went to Trump-leaning counties. I don’t care about that. That may be true. It may not be true. But $5,000 and $10,000 grants don’t change an election. What changes an election are the 162 grants that we uncovered that totaled $272 million, and 92% of that money went to Biden districts. That’s putting your thumb on the scale of an election.
Bluey: Jason, when the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative would make these donations that you talk of, what was the stated purpose for doing so, and how was that money actually spent?
Meath: In the tax filing, it is written you have to declare what you are spending the money for. It’s part of the law. You’ve got to say where’s this money going. And it’s very clear, we have it in the film, on their tax filing it said it is to conduct safe elections during the COVID-19.
And so what is a safe election? You would think PPE and gloves and things like that to keep you safe from getting COVID. But that is not at all what the money was spent for and maybe a very small percentage. I think we heard figures of 3%, 6% something along those lines, it went to any PPE or COVID protection.
The bulk of the money, the vast majority, the hundreds of millions of the money, went to get-out-the-vote operations.
Bluey: Who are some of the other major players involved in this scheme particularly those who have a long history in Democrat politics?
Bossie: That’s a great question. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is just a repository of their cash—really so that they can give it out. In the movie, we talk about other places that they give to, all left-wing: the Obama Foundation, the Clinton Foundation. Many, many of the who’s who of the left wing, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative donates to.
The person who is the chief strategist for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is David Plouffe. David Plouffe was Barack Obama’s campaign manager. Another person involved is Joel Benenson, who was the chief strategist for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Of course, David Plouffe is an author of a book, “A Citizen’s Guide to Defeating Donald Trump.”
These are dedicated partisans who Mark Zuckerberg hires and works with to give them the money to do strategically what they want. One of those went to, as I said, the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which received a huge majority of the money: $327 million of the $400 million went to them.
The two leaders of that group, Tiana Epps-Johnson, an Obama fellow at the Obama Foundation, and Donny Bridges, both had previously worked at the New Organizing Institute, which is a hardcore … Mark Levin calls it a communist organization. The New Organizing Institute, the Washington Post called the Democrat Party’s Hogwarts for digital wizardry. These people really understand data. They understand digital operations. They understand the strategy on how to win.
In his defense, Mark Zuckerberg says this was through a nonpartisan 501(c)(3). Well, these are the people who are running it. That’s like you setting up a foundation and putting me in charge of it and saying it’s nonpartisan. Nobody’s going to think that Dave Bossie woke up tomorrow and is not going to be the conservative activist that he’s been his entire life. It begs credulity.
Bluey: Now, you focus on three states in the film, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia. What happened there and why are those three so important?
Meath: We decided on those three states because when you look at the vote tallies of the 2020 election, those three battleground states—Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin—comprised 42,000 votes in those three states. So, 42,000 votes in those three states is the reason that Joe Biden is president. We conducted most of our focus on those states.
I will say though, that when you look at where the money was spread around, they spread this money to states that were very safe states like New York and California, and Massachusetts. Just about every state received money. And I do believe that was because they wanted an insurance policy. They wanted to make sure that the popular vote total for Joe Biden, if you remember when he won, everybody was talking about how no other president had ever received this many votes.
And I always was left scratching my head thinking, first of all, there’s a pandemic, and we were told that nobody was going to be able to vote and people were going to be afraid to vote. Second of all, Joe Biden did not run on a campaign. He basically hid in his basement most of the time, and when he did go out, there was maybe 10 or 15 people standing in circles—in socially distanced circles—to look at him and he couldn’t even fill up those.
So that always left me scratching my head, like how in the world did this many people … how are they so enthusiastic to go out and vote for this man?
Well, it turns out that they had a lot of help from $400 million donations to get these people to get these people to mail-in votes, get these people to go to drop boxes, and churn out votes wherever they could possibly find them. Not even just in the battleground states, even though those were extremely important for the electoral win. They also juiced those popular numbers.
Bluey: The vast majority of the money went to Democrat-heavy areas. Did any of the nearly 400 million go to election offices and areas that were more likely to support President Trump?
Meath: They will say more grants went to Trump districts than to Biden districts. And that may be true. But the problem is, when you look at the grants, if you applied for a grant, I don’t care who you were. They’d give you $5,000, maybe $10,000, but they didn’t give $42 million, $20 million dollars, $15 million dollars to Trump districts. They were giving those to Joe Biden-heavy areas. That’s where the serious money went.
You can’t flip an election on $5,000, but you can flip an election putting $25 million into a jurisdiction or $40 million into a Democrat-rich county. That’s where you start flipping the election.
Bluey: Thank you for connecting those dots for us. We’ve heard how the left used COVID-19 to change voting laws, some illegally in states like Pennsylvania, but this reaches a whole new level what you’ve just described. Why didn’t we see this coming in 2020, and what are some of the ways that we can prevent it from happening in the future?
Bossie: Such good questions. It is very important what you just pointed out. All of this was under the guise of COVID-19, of performing a safe election for everybody. We talk about it in the film. Even NPR says a very small percentage, and when I say very small, single-digit percentages, went to actual COVID safety masks and Plexiglass and the like.
All of the money really went to GOTV efforts to make Joe Biden able to win this thing. I was involved in the campaign. Look, I was the deputy campaign manager. Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, and I ran it in 2016. In 2020, there was a different group of people, but we still were able to help. But I didn’t get involved in the GOTV effort or the Election Day operations effort in 2020.
We didn’t see around the corners that guys who run presidential campaigns need to see around. Your job is to see around a corner. It’s very difficult to do. The RNC has to do its part. They have to have a machine.
By the way, in this midterm election right now that we’re in, there is no overriding national campaign to help run it. It really is the RNC, but maybe a little bit the [National Republican] Senatorial Committee, the [National Republican] Congressional Committee but not really. It’s got to be the RNC who, without a doubt, owns and operates what is going to happen as far as the Election Day activities and the legal side of things.
Meaning, are we going to go into court before Election Day, not after it’s over, not after we’ve had a problem but before? Are we going to do this over the summer and into the fall to make sure that we are fighting ever fight that can be picked?
They have Marc Elias. They have a guy who all day long he and his team sit around, and they are going state by state, county by county, across the country to try to figure out, where can they win, where can they do damage to the Republican Party. We have to do the same.
We have to have a dedicated group of people who are willing to go and fight the fight every single day. Lawyers and political operatives who are going to scour the country to find these weaknesses, to find the places where we’re being adversely affected and go fight those in court before Election Day, not after.
Bluey: One question that I have for you in light of what has transpired recently. Could Zuckerberg or perhaps another billionaire step in and do this again in 2022 during the midterms this year or 2024?
Meath: So think about this. They did this to a president. They were able to be extremely effective in changing the results, or certainly, helped change the results at the very least of a United States presidential election defeating a sitting president. If they can do that, well, now they’re emboldened and they can do anything they want and nothing is stopping any other tech billionaire from coming in and throwing money into a race at the current rate.
There are 17 states that are trying to pass laws to ban the use of this type of private money. But the problem is in a lot of those Democrat swing states, the Democrat governors are vetoing the bills. So there’s nothing to say that in those places, in those areas, that this would not happen again.
And I also would mention that in states like Pennsylvania and others that were very critical in terms of giving the election to Joe Biden, they ignored their own laws in 2020. Many of these states saw this money coming in. Many of these election offices saw this money flowing into their doors and ended up ignoring a lot of their voting laws in favor of throwing out drop boxes onto street corners or distributing mail-in ballots wherever they possibly could.
Just in my house I received five mail-in ballots. I mean, why do I need five mail-in ballots for myself? And this was happening all over the place. So there’s nothing to really stop them unless more states, more crucial states pass election integrity laws.
Bluey: With that being said, what is your message to state legislators who are debating this right now, either in their states or considering doing something in the future that would forbid private funding of government elections in the future?
Meath: A film like this can certainly help try to get us on message and to try to see the gravity of what’s going on in our elections. And the more information like this that we can get out to people. We interviewed Rep. Janel Brandtjen, who’s in the Wisconsin Legislature. And she’s in the film along with Michael Gableman, who was appointed to conduct an investigation of what happened in Wisconsin. And it is very telling when you talk to them, what they’re up against.
Even some Republican lawmakers are scared to talk about election integrity, mainly because if you remember, right after President Trump questioned the election results and other conservatives questioned the election results, the media, and the Democrats freaked out to the point where they wanted to cancel them all, they wanted to throw them off television.
They wanted to call them traders. They wanted to call them even worse names because they were spreading disinformation in all of this. All that’s a smokescreen because this isn’t disinformation, this is the truth, and people need to be armed with the truth in order to make bold moves. And that’s what legislatures need to do: put on their battle armor, get armed with the facts, and go out there and try to correct our very broken election system.
Bluey: And Jason, as I understand it, you and Citizens United Productions have faced your own challenges in terms of getting the message out. Not only through advertising, but perhaps other big players in the media world who perhaps don’t want this message reaching voters. Can you explain some of the difficulties you’ve had in Silicon Valley and other areas?
Meath: Dave is much closer to the day by day of what’s happening in terms of PayPal restricting the movie and platforms restricting getting our advertising and our message out. That happens, of course, to conservatives all the time.
I can tell you as a filmmaker who happens to make films that don’t tow the liberal line—in other words, a conservative filmmaker—I can’t even approach some platforms. I don’t even bother. I know that nobody at Netflix is going to take anything that I’m making.
Think about it, you’re a mid-level guy buying a film that talks about election integrity and the fact that maybe Donald Trump was right in questioning the election results. Your boss is going to fire you. The guy that owns Netflix is a raging liberal. So I get that they’re hamstrung here, but these people try to shut down conservatives all the time.
They’re going to try to stifle this movie. And that’s one reason that Citizens United was brilliant in starting their own platform, rigged2020.com, which has all of their films and all of their content on there for people to watch. And from what I understand, 59 countries around the world are accessing and streaming this movie. So people all over the world are interested in this. And the only way that they’re going to find out the truth is by going to rigged2020.com and subscribing to watch the film because it’s very difficult to get these messages out in any other platform.
Bluey: Before I let you go, I’ve got to ask the question of what President Trump’s reaction was to the film when he was able to see it at Mar-a-Lago?
Meath: The president came up and he said to everybody in attendance, his quote was, “I really liked a lot of movies over the course of my life. ‘Citizen Kane’ was excellent. ‘Gone With the Wind’ was excellent. ‘Titanic’ was excellent, but this is the one I most look forward to seeing.”
So that was straight from the president at the premier. And when he said that it made it all worthwhile because that’s what we’re doing it for. We don’t want another 2020 to happen again.
Bossie: I watched [Trump] watch the movie. It was really interesting. I’ve done a lot of things with the president, but I’d never watched a movie with him before in a movie theater. After it was over, he stood up and turned to me and he said, “You know this is really sad.” I didn’t know where he was going with it. He said, “This is really sad. It’s sad that this happened, and it’s sad that you had to make this movie.” He said, “You know what? It’s actually depressing. What you just described in this film is so powerful. It should never have happened. It did happen, and it’s depressing that that’s the reason that Joe Biden is president.”
But on the other hand, he’s happy now to have the facts and evidence. It was borne out in North Carolina because he talked about the movie at the rally that he had there in North Carolina. He also showed the trailer several times to the crowd. It was incredibly well received.
The president is a fighter. It’s why he and I get along so well. We’re both fighters, and we are never going to stop fighting for what we believe in.
Bluey: David, tell our listeners one more time how they can get the film.
Bossie: Please go to rigged2020.com. You can stream it anywhere in the world on any device. You can use PayPal. You can use Apple Pay.
Back when I started making films, we were on VHS. Today, it’s all digital, and you can watch it anywhere in the world. It’s an amazing thing.
When I showed the president the trailer for it the first time, I actually pulled it up on my phone and mirrored it to his television in his office. The technology today, younger people take it for granted, but it is an amazing thing. The impact and the depth you can now have with a film. Whereas back in the day, it was really hard. You had to go to a movie theater or send it to somebody on a VHS. Today, digitally it’s a game-changer.
People can send this film, “Rigged,” all across the country and please do. Make sure people know this film exists. Go to rigged2020.com and watch it for yourself.
Bluey: You have made dozens of fantastic films throughout your career. It is truly remarkable. Thank you for the work that you do each and every day, David, because we are grateful. We know the power of video and film is just so impactful.
Bossie: It is really. Thank you for reminding me because all of those films, our entire library is up at rigged2020.com, the entire catalog of films, all 27 films are there. “Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous With Destiny,” with Newt Gingrich and Callista Gingrich, another film which is one of my favorites. “Nine Days That Changed the World,” and my film on Pope John Paul II. It is, in my opinion, one of the great films. It came in second at the Vatican Film Festival many years ago. I just love that. That’s one of my favorite films. I urge everybody to go watch this film. Then you get to enjoy lots of other films that are up there.
Bluey: David and Jason, thank you so much for joining us today.
Bossie: Thanks for having me.
Meath: Thanks for all you’re doing, Rob. Appreciate it.