On Tuesday, former Wisconsin Supreme Court Judge and Special Council Mike Gableman released his 136-page interim report concluding that nearly $9 million in Zuckerberg grant funds—executed solely to five Democratic strongholds in the state—violated the state's election code ban on bribery. Presented to the State Assembly, the Office of the Special Counsel Report reveals several troubling findings and suggests state lawmakers "take a very hard look at the option of decertification of the 2020" presidential election.
In a state where Joe Biden won by less than 21,000 votes, Chapter 1 of the report highlights the fact that the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) received $8,800,000 in "Zuckerberg Bucks" from a planned grant focused on the cities of Milwaukee, Madison, Racine, Kenosha, and Green Bay, known as the "Zuckerberg 5." In exchange for millions of dollars, contracts signed by officials in these cities critical to the Biden campaign agreed to target specific voter groups with special assistance and incentive to vote.
Zuckerberg's Strict Provisions on Zuckerberg 5, or "Clawback"
In reality, the voter targeting was not centered around making it safe for all Wisconsin voters to vote. Instead, evidence points to a focus determined to get specific non-voters to go to the polls on Election Day. Not ensuring voter safety, the grant funds purchased unprecedented and unlawful access to the oversight of elections in the Zuckerberg 5 cities and voter data. A voter contact effort appeared to be strategically planned to benefit one party.
The Zuckerberg 5 cities agreed to adhere to the strict conditions the veteran partisan strategists laid out when conducting the elections, with strict provisions requiring repayment of the grant money—referred to as "clawback"—if CTCL disagreed with how the money was spent. Among the numerous prerequisites the Zuckerberg 5 agreed to was the implementation of ballot drop boxes, which are not legal under Wisconsin law. For years, state law has been clear that ballot drop boxes are forbidden. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has since prohibited ballot drop boxes in the upcoming April election.
The report explains how "other entities have reported about CTCL's selective funding to the Zuckerberg 5." After analyzing the Zuckerberg 5's acceptance and use of the CTCL grants, two non-profits published reports last year that are consistent with Gableman's information. On June 9, 2021, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) issued a report titled "Finger on the Scale: Examining Private Funding of Elections in Wisconsin." There were five key takeaways from the WILL Report:
- WILL received records from 196 communities that received a share of $10.3 million in funding from CTCL. These grants ranged from a high of $3.4 million for the City of Milwaukee to $2,212 for the Town of Mountain in Oconto County.
- The largest five cities in the state (Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, and Racine) received nearly 86% of all CTCL grant funds in Wisconsin.
- While most small towns used CTCL resources for voting equipment and COVID-related equipment, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Madison spent close to or above $100,000 on ostensibly "non-partisan" voter education efforts.
- Areas of the state that received grants saw statistically significant increases in turnout for Democrats. Increases in turnout were not seen for Donald Trump.
This WILL Report highlights the inequitable distribution of private resources that came into the state during the 2020 election. Reforms designed to ensure that any grant money is distributed in a per capita manner across the state will go a long way in increasing faith that our elections are being conducted in an open and honest manner.
Independent Reports Confirm OSC Findings on CTCL Funding
The WILL Report concluded that CTCL funding affected Wisconsin's 2020 election outcomes in favor of candidate Biden over then-President Trump by at least 8,000 votes. Not solely focused on 2020 election activity, the WILL Report also calculated the CTCL funding "per 2016 voter in Wisconsin's ten largest cities." The report reveals a considerable amount of CTCL funding in 2016 went to the Zuckerberg 5 per voter, and a much smaller amount of funding went to the remaining five cities, as illustrated below.
Second Interim Report / WILL Analysis of CTCL Funding in 2016
Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, Green Bay Grand Hyatt, and Hidden Wi-Fi
As stated in Gableman's report, the OSC began a comprehensive investigation of voting machines in Wisconsin, sending subpoenas to Dominion, ESS, and Command Central, LLC, a Dominion reseller and servicer. They sought information about who, when, where, and what updates the machines were provided. The OSC discovered that one machine company representative stated "the voting machines were "wiped" during updates, meaning they did not retain federally required voter data."
The report exposes that the dark money funding elections in these five cities had access to Wisconsin's WisVote, the database containing election information, voter registration, ballot access, ballot tracking, and polling locations. One of CTCL's proposed "partners" was the National Vote at Home Institute ("NVAHI") and its employee Michael Spitzer Rubenstein.
In great detail, Gableman's report highlights highly questionable conversations between Spitzer Rubenstein and Claire Woodall-Vogg, the Executive Director of the City of Milwaukee Election Commission. Shockingly, while the various voting machine companies refused to comply with the OSC's legislative subpoenas, the OSC learned that all machines in Green Bay, for example, were connected to the internet and controlled by one person—Michael Spitzer Rubenstein. The report states:
The OSC learned that all machines in Green Bay were ESS machines and were connected to a secret, hidden Wi-Fi access point at the Grand Hyatt hotel, which was the location used by the City of Green Bay on the day of the 2020 Presidential election. The OSC discovered the Wi-Fi, machines, and ballots were controlled by a single individual who was not a government employee but an agent of a special interest group operating in Wisconsin.
The OSC's investigation discovered the use of a ballot tracking and harvesting
application in Wisconsin. An extensive amount of time and effort went into this portion of the investigation. The OSC became attuned to the possibility of an application when reviewing email exchanges between the Zuckerberg 5 and third parties. This involved tracking applications in Georgia and Pennsylvania.
The OSC discovered ballot tracking programs in both Georgia and Pennsylvania.
The OSC was able to locate and identify the developer of both programs in those States. The OSC obtained the source code for the Pennsylvania application. Ultimately, that data and source code would not prove to be helpful to discovering information about the Wisconsin application.
The direct access given to outside CTCL-connected technology experts raises significant security concerns. Gableman declares CTCL and its related dark money groups were obtaining the Wisconsin poll list every day—free—during the run-up to the 2020 elections. For everyone else, the poll list costs over $12,000 each time it is requested. Gableman, who also highlights the connection between WEC administrator Meagan Wolfe and CTCL dark money, notes in his report:
"Nothing could be more repugnant to democracy than private corporations paying to increase voting access for targeted demographic groups, so that they can manipulate election outcomes—something that will occur repeatedly under the auspices of the WSVP provisions. Private corporations were paying money to affect the election outcome. So strict scrutiny must apply when private funding of election administration targeting voter groups is involved-because the credibility of our federal elections is at stake."
The WEC Unlawfully Violated Rules Protecting Nursing Home Residents
Disturbingly, the interim report exposes serious illegal voter activity in Wisconsin nursing homes. WEC permitted fraud to flourish in nursing homes by overlooking statutes meant to protect the elderly from having their votes stolen or exploited. The investigation reveals WEC even facilitated the fraud, with some facilities noting 100% voter turnout.
Screenshot / pg. 90 Interim Report
At Tuesday's hearing, Gableman played eight videos of interviews with nursing home residents who voted in the 2020 election and tests of their cognitive abilities. In the videos, guardians are present and have signed releases. It is obvious these individuals could not make a rational and coherent decision about voting. Gableman's specific examples of nursing home vote fraud are extensive, with many residents clearly incoherent and incapable of voting. Gableman's report stated:
"WEC's unlawful activities facilitated and encouraged possible widespread criminality and election fraud. Aside from the fact that they were legally and morally wrong, these acts led to 100% voting rates in many nursing homes in Brown, Dane, Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine Counties and incapacitated people voting statewide. Given that there are approximately 92,000 residents of facilities governed by Wis. Stat. §6.875 statewide, the fact that tens of thousands of illegal ballots from these facilities were counted casts doubt on the 2020 Presidential election result."
Free Legal Services Violate Wisconsin Ethics Code
Remarkably, chapter five of the thirteen-chapter report highlights the inappropriateness of legal defense funds offered to Wisconsin election officials by the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR). Founded by Democrat attorney David Becker (who, as president of CEIR, received $69 million from Zuckerberg) and funded by Zuckerberg, the group is the subject of a DOJ ethics investigation for allegedly providing millions of dollars in media consulting fees in 2020 to Democratic firms in Michigan for "voter education." According to the report, public officials are forbidden from accepting items of value as a reward for actions in their official capacity, including legal representation.
The OSC will continue seeking answers to the critical questions raised by the disturbing findings thus far. Gableman lists six remaining tasks, which are:
- Vindicating the legislature's subpoena and investigative authority through ongoing litigation;
- Compelling witnesses (individual or institutional) with crucial information about Wisconsin elections to provide testimony. This includes Meagan Wolfe, Ann Jacobs, Michael Spitzer Rubenstein,Tiana Epps-Johnson, Trina Zanow, Sarah Linske, Hannah Bubacz,Harrison Hersch, Dominion, ESS, and the Zuckerberg 5 through ongoing litigation.
- Determining the identities of any groups or individuals engaged in ballot harvesting in Wisconsin;
- Verifying the integrity of Wisconsin's voting machines;
- Identifying additional votes cast unlawfully as a consequence of WEC's directives to clerks regarding SVDs;
- Providing additional reporting as necessary, possibly including a more robust roadmap to the outside groups and leadership that interfered with the administration of past Wisconsin elections.
In his report, Gableman, who recommends the elimination of the WEC, notes that it "by no means represents a "full audit" of the 2020 election in the state of Wisconsin." Instead, it represents a snapshot of various issues identified by the OSC, other government actors, and citizens. It makes a number of recommendations to fix them. Meanwhile, despite non-partisan attorneys working for the Legislature previously stating there is no legal basis to decertify a Presidential election, Gableman remarked that the investigation is not finished. Pointing out that the truth is not yet determined, Gableman added, "[but] we're getting there."