During Wednesday’s hours-long grilling of Attorney General Merrick Garland by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, which mainly focused on the events of January 6 and Garland’s directive to investigate parents who speak out at school board meetings, one critical question went almost unnoticed.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) questioned Garland about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s $400 million spending spree during the 2020 election.
The money was allocated through Zuckerberg-funded non-profits the Center for Tech and Civic Life, described by Influence Watch as an “organization [that] pushes for left-of-center voting policies and election administration,” and the Center for Election Innovation and Research.
Two and a half million of those dollars, for example, were given to Chester County, Pennsylvania’s election officials. They were then used by elections officials there to purchase 14 drop boxes for absentee ballots – an already controversial means of voting during the 2020 cycle. President Joe Biden won Chester County by 17 points in 2020, more than double the 2016 total of failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s 2016 haul in what was, before last year, considered a swing county. Pennsylvania was a crucial swing state in Biden’s 2020 victory.
Similar funding was granted to 2,500 jurisdictions nationwide.
Though some have described Zuckerberg’s funding as an illegal private takeover of public elections, the nonprofits said their actions complied with federal election law.
Biggs asked Garland whether the Department of Justice (DOJ) had looked into any of this. Garland said he had not heard anything about it.
Here is the transcript of their exchange:
Biggs: It has been reported that Mark Zuckerberg spent over $400 million in a quote ‘carefully orchestrated attempt’ close quote to influence the 2020 election. Those efforts have been referred to as a quote ‘private takeover of government election operations’ close quote. Have you sent a letter or issued a memorandum directing that [DOJ] departmental resources be dedicated to investigate these claims?
Garland: I don’t know what was done in 2020 in the previous administration of the Justice Department.
Biggs: We’re talking about the election of 2020. All of this has come out since then, and you’ve not – you’re completely unaware of that?
Garland: I’m not aware of what you’re talking about.
The broader context of the line of questioning involved Garland’s memorandum that directed investigations into parents who speak out at school board meetings.
Biggs was contrasting the DOJ’s response to this treatment of mostly conservative parents exercising their First Amendment rights to protest Critical Race Theory (CRT) and other left-wing school agenda items, to what he viewed as much more serious matters, like Facebook’s alleged influence over the 2020 election.
Biggs also noted that Facebook admitted in a letter to Arizona’s Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) that it “allows people to share information about how to enter a country illegally or request information about how to be smuggled.”
Noting that aiding and abetting illegal alien crossings into the United States is a federal crime, Biggs also asked Garland if the DOJ was looking into that matter.
Garland once again claimed ignorance and said that he had not issued a memo or directive for the DOJ to investigate.
Later, Biggs also noted that last week, more than 300 churches in Virginia aired a video of Vice President Kamala Harris encouraging their congregations to vote for Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, which is an apparent violation of IRS nonprofit rules and perhaps a coordinated effort between McAuliffe and Harris to break those rules.
Garland again said he had not issued a memo or directive for the DOJ to investigate.
Watch the full round of questioning, which begins at 3:18:49:
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