Ex-Pennsylvania Sec of State Selectively Informed Counties of Private 2020 Election Grants - Report
14:46 GMT 26.10.2021 (Updated: 18:23 GMT 03.11.2022)
Earlier this year, Pennsylvania conducted several audits of its 2020 presidential election results, having confirmed that Joe Biden won the state by more than 80,000 votes.
Former Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and the Office of the Pennsylvania Governor were in the know about private 2020 election grants, inviting Democratic-tilting counties to apply at a time when other counties did not know about these funds, new emails have revealed.
The documents were released by the news website Broad + Liberty
and include Boockvar's email to Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia on 15 August 2020.
"Commissioner Marseglia, by this email I am connecting you with Jessica Walls-Lavelle. Jessica, I told Commissioner Marseglia that there may be some Election administration nonprofit grant funds available, and Bucks County is interested", the email read.
At the time, Jessica Walls-Lavelle served as a staffer in the Pennsylvania Governor's Office and acted as a liaison to the State Department.
In an email to Josh Maxwell, the vice-chair of the Chester County Board of Commissioners, Walls-Lavelle noted that the Chicago-based Centre for Tech in Civic (CTCL) "is providing a grant opportunity for counties to apply for funding to assist with election implementation".
"If you are interested in applying, please complete this questionnaire and return it to me by Wednesday if possible. I will make sure it gets to CTCL and then I believe the next step would be setting up a call with them to discuss everything in more detail", she stated.
Broad + Liberty
reported that CTCL had sent more grants per registered voter to Democratic counties than Republican ones in Pennsylvania, in what was followed by a $250 million donation from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
to the centre in early September 2020.
The survey indicated that counties such as Mifflin and Mercer were provided with 66 cents and 73 cents per voter, respectively, while blue counties like Philadelphia and Centre received $8.87 and $7.70 per voter.
22 November 2020, 19:58 GMT
Broad + Liberty
CEO Terry Tracy has, meanwhile, written an article in the US online magazine The Federalist
, titled "How 'Zuckbucks' Gave Pennsylvania Democrats Special Advantages in the 2020 Election".
He confirmed the Broad + Liberty report's claims that CTCL targeted Pennsylvania's Democratic-leaning counties with their election grants and that senior officials in the state "played a role in the effort to get these private funds" to blue counties.
Tracy insisted that Americans deserve "to have confidence that elections are being conducted fairly", adding that private election grants "only reinforce the perception of systemic fraud and fan the flames of partisan division".
"Pennsylvania's experience with private election grants should be evidence enough for lawmakers across the country to regulate their use and to view handouts from unvetted private organisations with healthy suspicion", Tracy concluded.
The remarks came as The Federalist claimed in the report that ahead of the 2020 election, Zuckerberg pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into non-partisan non-profit organisations, which manipulated funding so that it could add to the Democratic vote.
According to the report, the private funds targeted key battleground states to increase then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's vote margin against his Republican rival Donald Trump.
28 November 2020, 23:47 GMT
In late 2020, Trump repeatedly refused to concede to Democrat Joe Biden
in Pennsylvania, continuing to claim "massive election fraud" there despite all his previous lawsuits filed in other battleground states having failed.
The 45th US president claimed at the time that the 1,126,940 votes Biden was certified with in Pennsylvania were "created out of thin air".
Trump also said that his team has evidence of the supposed fraud, but he needs a judge "to listen to it properly" without political bias. At the end of the day, a raft of audits confirmed that Biden won Pennsylvania by over 80,000 votes.