Election Nonprofits: CEIR Funds Election Official Legal Defense Network

  • by:
  • Source: UncoverDC
  • 09/19/2023

While they may not be as widely known as having influenced the 2020 general election as did the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) was and will continue to be a player in the orchestration of elections. With its latest project, the Election Official Legal Defense Network (EOLDN), CEIR rounds out its grant-endowing electoral policy advocacy group with a team of pro-bono lawyers hired to support election officials ("public servants") who have been subjected to "criminal penalties for performing their professional duties" in "the most secure and transparent elections" in the U.S. Created in 2021 as a response to the 2020 election by David Becker, Ben Ginsberg, and Bob Bauer, the opening statement on its "about page" is very telling of the organization's political leanings:

"Election officials face an increasing wave of state laws subjecting them to criminal penalties for performing their professional duties, while at the same time facing threats of violence to themselves and their families. This comes in the wake of the 2020 election and its aftermath, despite that election being the most secure and transparent election in American history, with record turnout, during a global pandemic. These attacks on election officials, the referees in democracy, must be fought, and election officials need to know they are not alone. The Election Officials Legal Defense Network will provide these public servants with the advice and protection they need, at no cost."

An October 2021 New York Post story succinctly articulates CTCL's and CEIR's election funding and influence. "This is not a matter of Democrats outspending Republicans," writes the Post, "Private funding of election administration was virtually unknown in the American political system before the 2020 election." And their grants were partisan and heavy-handed in Democrat-heavy counties. The NY Post continues:

"The Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) and the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) passed a staggering $419.5 million of Zuckerberg’s money into local government elections offices, and it came with strings attached. Every CTCL and CEIR grant spelled out in great detail the conditions under which the grant money was to be used..."

"Big CTCL and CEIR money had nothing to do with traditional campaign finance, lobbying, or other expenses that are related to increasingly expensive modern elections. It had to do with financing the infiltration of election offices at the city and county level by left-wing activists and using those offices as a platform to implement preferred administrative practices, voting methods, and data-sharing agreements, as well as to launch intensive outreach campaigns in areas heavy with Democratic voters."

The team members for both CEIR and the EOLDN are veritable who's who of left-leaning activists. For example, David Becker plays a leading role in both organizations. He serves as Executive Director and Founder of CEIR, and he is also the Executive Director of EOLDN.

Who Works at  EOLDN?

Becker is cited as "a left-leaning election law advocate worked at Pew Charitable Trusts, where he organized the creation of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). Before this, Becker, a Berkeley law school graduate, was the director of People for the American Way (PFAW) and worked in the U.S. Department of Justice as a litigator." He also served for "seven years as a senior trial attorney in the Voting Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, overseeing voting rights enforcement in several states, including California and Georgia." He touts himself as one of the "foremost experts on all aspects of election administration, including election cybersecurity, disinformation, foreign interference, long lines and other issues with in-person voting, mail, and early voting, and voter registration."

EOLDN Co-Chair Bob Bauer's resume includes a stint as White House Counsel to President Obama from 2009 to 2011. He was appointed by Obama in 2013 to be Co-Chair of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration and was recruited again by Obama in 2021 to be co-chair of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. He has written numerous policy papers on elections, including election administration, campaign finance, and presidential debates. He is a contributing editor of Lawfare; a publication co-founded by Benjamen Wittes of the Brookings Institution.

EOLDN Co-Chair Ben Ginsberg has represented parties and candidates from both sides of the aisle, however, when representing Republicans, they tend to be of a more moderate political persuasion. He was also a member of President Obama's White House Counsel’s office, and he was a lawyer for the Biden 2020 Presidential campaign. He appeared on many media spots to say that there was "no widespread fraud" in the 2020 election. Citing a Washington Post story written by Ginsberg, a 2020 CNNPolitics story quotes Ginsberg below:

"The truth is that after decades of looking for illegal voting, there's no proof of widespread fraud," adding there are isolated incidents across both parties. "Elections are not rigged. Absentee ballots use the same process as mail-in ballots -- different states use different labels for the same process."

The 2020 election fraud denier bench is deep at EOLDN, so a summary of each advisory board member would be tedious. However, some of the notable and more familiar names from the 2020 election tell the story of what plans this organization may have for future elections. Georgia's Deputy Secretary of State, Jordan Fuchs, Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, and Georgia's Voting System Implementation Manager, Gabriel Sterling, are EOLDN advisors. All three men have a storied history of denying there was fraud in the state's 2020 election, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Arizona's Recorder, RINO Steven Richer, is there. Richer called Trump's allegations of fraud in Arizona "unhinged." Also on the board is Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Just ask Michigan lawyer Matt DePerno how interested Benson is in looking at election fraud. Julietta Henry is also on the board. She serves as Director of the Milwaukee County Election Commission. She has served as Director since 2014, and her county was one of several in Wisconsin to "welcome with open arms" the grants funded by the Chan-Zuckerberg Foundation that allegedly helped to tip the election in favor of the Democrats in 2020.

EOLDN Advisory Board/EOLDN Project of CEIR 2021

Both EOLDN and its mother organization, CEIR, purport to be independent or nonpartisan organizations—implying they are unbiased. The way to get to the truth of any matter means one would need to approach the problem with an eye to openly follow where the facts lead you. It does not mean you begin with the hypothesis that all things election are copacetic and then set out to disprove "the fools" who say things are not.

And yes, the EOLDN board does have a requisite composition of Republicans who theoretically confer political balance to its board. However, even modest scrutiny of the bias held by any one of the board members toward the idea that "there was no fraud in the 2020 election" or the conviction that "we are just defending these innocent 'public servants' who have been targeted unfairly" will tell you that the "nonpartisan" nature of the board members is, at best, skin deep and at worst a smoke and mirrors operation masquerading as nonpartisan or unbiased.

What Issues Do CEIR and EOLDN Care About?

Finally, let's sample just one of the stories listed under the Press tab of EOLDN to better understand what this advocacy arm of CEIR intends to defend. I threw the dart and hit its December 14, 2021, news conference featuring a collaboration between CEIR and a team from EOLDN to include Bauer, Becker, Ginsberg, and advisory board member Matthew Masterson, Non-Resident Fellow, Stanford Internet Observatory, formerly Election Lead for CISA/DHS as presenters to the Wisconsin Majority Caucus. As a side note, UncoverDC featured the Stanford Internet Observatory in a March 10, 2022, story on political bias in Biden-era federal agencies.

One need look no further than the short written caption provided under the recorded news conference. It alleges that there are "increasing efforts in Wisconsin to delegitimize the audited and verified outcome of the 2020 presidential election and to harass state and local election officials."

It is ridiculous on its face at this point to see this presentation as anything but gaslighting, given the mountain of evidence showing that there was fraud in Wisconsin. Becker's opening statement says that the 2020 election was "by any objective measure which was the most secure, transparent, and verified election in American history." He then bases his conclusion on the fact that there was "unprecedented" transparent litigation and audits before and after the election, which proved there was "zero evidence of any kind of fraud that could have affected the outcome—any significant fraud," he adds. He extends that "statement of fact" to include Wisconsin, the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia are prominent examples of states that conducted audits (mostly recounts), and investigations, engaged with courts (few cases went to the evidentiary phase)—and not one found "any evidence of fraud that would overturn the outcome of the election." If you can stomach the news conference, please watch it below:

The same quality of information can be found on the News tab on the CEIR website. For an organization on the "cutting edge" of building "voter trust in elections," it sure is working hard to make sure that doesn't happen. Among its press releases on the "legacy of January 6 insurrection" and its "ongoing efforts to undermine results of 2020 election," a letter from a bipartisan group of 50 election officials in support of Wisconsin's chief election official, Meagan Wolfe, and my favorite title, from "CEIR in the news," "Based on a lie": GOP's Zuckerberg obsession threatens to starve local election offices of funding.

Please also note from CEIR's 2020 Form 990, who is listed as its three grant funders to the tune of $700,000. The top two are the Bernard and Ann Spitzer Charitable Trust (think Eliot Spitzer) and the Democracy Fund, founded by a champion of global change, Pierre Omidyar, both deep wells in the world of left-leaning politics. The third funder, the Ford Foundation, is not exactly unbiased in its political leanings either.

The pit is bottomless with these politically biased organizations who pretend to advocate for free and fair elections. And, the web of organizations seems to be purposely tangled to distract from their unified purpose, which is, in many cases, to lend manpower and money to repeat the sins of the 2020 election in future elections and to evade detection as purveyors of biased activism.

UncoverDC will continue to unwind the root system that is the Democrat election influence activist network. However, Americans will do well to dig and research on their own to identify these "nonpartisan" organizations that plan to infect and fund local elections of the future while pretending to represent and advocate for all Americans.

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