[Madison, WI] – Yesterday, the Wisconsin Spotlight published a bombshell report revealing that a Mark Zuckerberg-financed grant intended to “bolster democracy during the pandemic” actually resulted in concerning influence from an outside group in Green Bay’s election administration in November. According to the report, a left-leaning group led by a former Democrat operative was heavily involved in administering Green Bay’s election, asking if they could “help” cure absentee ballots, when their assistance was not wanted by the clerk, but nonetheless gaining access to Green Bay’s absentee ballots days before the election. The clerk went on leave before the election out of frustration.
Wisconsin Republican elected officials Sen. Roth, Sen. Bernier and Sen. Darling are calling for the resignation of Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich, who allowed the Zuckerberg funded “grant team” to take over Green Bay’s election. As Senator Bernier pointed out in a letter to Gov. Evers and Attorney General Kaul, “The public has a right to know to what extent Democrat operatives and mayoral staff, among others, interfered with the job of clerks in administering elections.”
Wisconsin Republicans ask mayor to quit over election report
March 10, 2021
Republican Wisconsin lawmakers called Tuesday for Green Bay’s Democratic mayor to resign following a report on a conservative website alleging he ceded authority for running the election to a paid consultant with ties to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Eric Genrich did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the calls for him to resign. But his office forcefully denied all claims of wrongdoing raised in the story that appeared on the Wisconsin Spotlight website.
Calls for the mayor’s resignation and investigations came from state Sen. Kathy Bernier, chair of the Senate’s elections committee, as well as state Sens. Roger Roth, of Appleton, and Alberta Darling, of Whitefish Bay.
“The public has a right to know to what extent Democrat operatives and mayoral staff, among others, interfered with the job of clerks in administering elections,” Bernier wrote to Attorney General Josh Kaul and Gov. Tony Evers. Evers did not immediately respond to questions about whether he would launch an investigation.
The story cites emails and other documents obtained under Wisconsin’s public records law to allege that Genrich and his staff essentially handed over operation of the election to partisan Democrats funded by a grant from the nonprofit Center for Tech and Civic Life. That group awarded more than $6 million to five Wisconsin cities to help with the November election, including $1.6 million to Green Bay.
The nonprofit’s $250 million in grants awarded nationwide were funded by Zuckerberg and his wife, philanthropist Priscilla Chan. Conservatives sued to stop the funding in Wisconsin, but lost in federal court.
The Spotlight Wisconsin story alleges that Genrich and his staff ceded too much authority over running the election, including handing over the keys to the city’s central ballot counting location, to consultant Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, who was hired by the city to assist with the election. He works for the National Vote at Home Institute, a group that advocates for voting by mail. Spitzer-Rubenstein, who has worked on Democratic campaigns in the past, did not return a message left seeking comment with a person who answered his cellphone but said he was not Spitzer-Rubenstein.