by Benjamin Yount
There is nothing in Wisconsin law that says local election managers can’t accept money from outside groups to help run their elections.
There is nothing in state law that says they can, but a judge in Madison on Wednesday essentially said that doesn’t matter.
Judge Stephen Ehlke ruled against the latest challenge to the so-called Zuckerbucks grants. Ehlke said nothing in state law prohibits the grants.
“Certainly nothing in [state law] prohibits clerks from using private grant money or working with outside consultants in the performance of their duties,” Ehlke ruled.
The Thomas More Society was asking the judge to rule against the grants, saying that there is nothing in Wisconsin law that allows for local election managers to accept outside cash for election operations.
This is the fourth time a judge or court has turned down a challenge to the grants. A judge in Green Bay dismissed a case before the 2020 election, then the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to take-up a case after the election. A federal judge dismissed a third case against the Zuckerbucks last year as well.
The Mark Zuckerberg-funded Center for Tech and Civic Life spent nearly $9 million in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Racine, and Kenosha in the 2020 election.
In Madison, some of that CTCL money went to ballot drop boxes. Conservatives are also challenging those, that case is before the state Supreme Court.
Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a proposal to outlaw Zuckerbucks-type grants going forward. Gov. Tony Evers vetoed that legislation back in July.
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