The left-leaning organization known for distributing Mark Zuckerberg-funded election grants in the 2020 election will be giving $3 million to Clark County, Nevada, for the 2024 election.

The U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, a project of the Center for Tech and Civic Life, is directing the money to Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, in partnership with several organizations, including those fiscally sponsored by the liberal Arabella Advisors. 

The Daily Signal obtained the information through a public records request with the county. 

Clark County was among the jurisdictions that former President Donald Trump’s campaign challenged after he lost the 2020 election. 

On Jan. 17, Deputy County Manager Les Lee Shell submitted a grant application to the Clark County Board of Commissioners. 

“Authorize the County Manager or his designee to execute the submission of a grant application and accept the award from the Center of Tech and Civic Life, in the amount of $3,000,000.00 for expenses related to election administration during the upcoming elections. (For possible action),” the document from Shell to the board says. 

The Center for Tech and Civic Life took $350 million from Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, for the 2020 election. Last April, the organization launched the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence as a five-year, $80 million project partnering with several organizations, including the Center for Secure and Modern Elections, which is a project of the New Venture Fund, a fiscally-sponsored project of Arabella Advisors. 

“Which upon approval from the Clark County BOCC will be provided in two installments, $1,000,000 in the first quarter of 2023 and the balance of $2,000,000 in December of 2023,” the deputy county manager says in background for the board. “Please refer to Grant Application in the documents provided for details related to acceptance and use of the $3,000,000 grant to Clark County.”

It goes on to say: 

Clark County must sign the grant application and membership agreement (provided as attachment), return to CTCL, utilize the funds by no later than December of 2024, and provide a report by January 31, 2025 on what the funds were utilized for. The grant funds must be used exclusively for the public purpose of planning and operationalizing safe and secure election administration infrastructure in Clark County, NV. 

Awarded funds will be used to support election processes in Clark County to increase efficiency in processing ballots and providing additional facility improvements at the Election Center on Trade Drive. Thereby ensuring safe and secure elections in Clark County, NV. We will be accepting the scholarship offered by CTCL to provide a Premium Membership for the CCED. 

On Jan. 10, Clark County Counsel Lisa Logsdon signed the agreement with the alliance. 

As with other election offices, records show the membership fee for the count was $1,600 for regular membership and $4,800 for premium membership to cover the cost of the alliance consulting and training with election officials. But the the county had access to an $800 credit, which the alliance called “scholarships” for basic membership, or a $3,040 credit for premium membership.

On Dec. 1, 2022, the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence sent the agreement form to Clark County Registrar of Voters Joseph Paul Gloria, announcing that the Center for Tech and Civic Life would be awarding the $3 million in two installments. 

The agreement says the grantee cannot use the money to affect the outcome of the election:

Grantee agrees that grant funds will not be used: (i) to attempt to influence the outcome of any specific public election, or to participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office; (ii) to attempt to influence the selection, nomination, election or appointment of any individual to any public office or office in a political organization within the meaning of Code Section 527(e)(2); (iii) for any activity that is in violation of federal, state or local law or any effort to induce or encourage violations of law or public policy; (iv) to cause any private inurement or improper private benefit to occur; or (v) in any manner inconsistent with charitable and educational purposes defined under Code Section 501(c)(3).

Clark County is the largest county in Nevada and has gone Democratic in every presidential election since 2008. However, it has been closely contested in some election cycles. 

The project selected 10 jurisdictions for grants, with a mix of battleground states and solidly blue states. One Michigan county, two North Carolina counties, and Madison, Wisconsin, were included in the battleground states. Two California counties, two Illinois counties, and Greenwich, Connecticut, were selected for grants among solidly blue areas. 

The Daily Signal previously reported that Greenwich, Connecticut, and Macoupin County, Illinois, each got a $500,000 grant. Wisconsin media reported that the alliance issued a $1.5 million grant to Madison. 

After the controversy surrounding private money funding election administration in 2020, two dozen states passed laws banning or restricting private funds from being used for running elections. However, none of the jurisdictions getting the grants are in those states. The Wisconsin Legislature passed a ban, but Democrat Gov. Tony Evers vetoed it. North Carolina Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper also vetoed a similar measure.

Zuckerberg is no longer funding the Center for Tech and Civic Life, but the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence is primarily funded by The Audacious Project, according to Inside Philanthropy, which describes these donors as “a tech-heavy group of funders that lean liberal in their grantmaking.”

The Clark County Clerk’s Office and Elections Department did not immediately respond to The Daily Signal for comment on this story. 

The Center for Tech and Civic Life, which handles press inquiries for the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, did not respond to The Daily Signal. 

Some House Republicans have called for an investigation into the new funding, and have reintroduced legislation to revoke tax-exempt status from groups that seek to fund election administration.  

On Thursday, the Honest Elections Project released a report in conjunction with the John Locke Foundation that included information about the counties of Brunswick and Forsyth in North Carolina and Kane County in Illinois. The report focused on strings attached to the credits. 

“However, the Alliance also created “scholarships” to cover those membership costs, which are instantly converted into ‘credits’ that member offices can use to buy services from CTCL and other Alliance partners,” the report from the Honest Elections Project and the John Locke Foundation says. “As a result, offices receive access to funds they can spend exclusively on services provided by left-wing companies and nonprofits, entirely outside normal public funding channels. Based on documentation obtained through the public records process, these services range from ‘legal’ and ‘political’ consulting to public relations and guidance on recruitment and training.”

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