Officials in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the 2020 presidential election turned over some of their operations and responsibilities to "private activist groups," a complaint filed by a national elections watchdog group charges.
"Hundreds of millions of dollars purchased local election offices in 2020 to benefit one political candidate, paying salaries of election officials and literally dictating the manner in which the election should be managed," Phill Kline, director of The Amistad Project, said, according to a report from Wisconsin Spotlight.
"Evidence in Green Bay proves this shadow government ran the election and now it is time those involved come clean."
The complaint, filed with the Wisconsin Elections Commission on behalf of five Green Bay residents, charges city officials let "private activist groups to control significant aspects of the 2020 election, including ballot ‘curing’ and vote counting."
It was the Chicago-based Center for Tech and Civic Life, flush with cash from Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg's $350 million payout, that gave more than $8 million in "election safety and security" grants to Wisconsin’s five largest and most heavily Democratic cities — Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha and Racine.
The Spotlight reported it found that the CTCL demanded the Wisconsin cities sign contracts that included provisions to return the grant money if they didn't do want CTCL demanded.
"Local elections officials had to work with the center’s partner organizations, like the National Vote at Home Institute. Emails show longtime Democratic operative Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, Wisconsin lead for the institute, was intricately involved in the administration of Green Bay’s and Milwaukee’s elections, even offering to 'cure' or correct absentee ballots," the report said.
"This is about safeguarding future elections and establishing the precedent that private corporations and tech oligarchs should not be calling the shots,” said Erick Kaardal, special counsel for The Amistad Project. “Wisconsin law puts city clerks in charge of administering elections at the local level, yet internal emails show that Green Bay’s city clerk was boxed out by the mayor’s office, which handed over the keys to the counting room to Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein."
Green Bay officials claimed they followed election law, but the Spotlight found emails showing how Green Bay Clerk Kris Teske became so worried about the third-party influence operations and bullying by outsiders that she resigned.
The Spotlight reported, "According to the complaint, Internal emails obtained by The Amistad Project show several other left-leaning political advisors and lawyers involved in deciding Green Bay’s internal counting room policy and the city’s targeting specific voter demographics favorable to Democrat Party candidates for outreach and voter turnout efforts."
"Private interests dictating how government manages elections ensures public doubt about election outcomes and involves government in playing favorites," Kline explained.
One of the individuals named was James Fitzgerald. He said, "I’m here today for several reasons, but most importantly for integrity, restoring integrity of the elections at the ballot box here in Green Bay."
Kaardal also confirmed plans to take the allegations to court, especially since the Wisconsin Elections Commission is led by a highly partisan chairwoman appointed by Democrats.
Kaardal said the situation "raises serious doubts regarding the objectivity of the commission in conducting an investigation."
In final official results in Wisconsin, Democrat nominee Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump by 49.6% to 48.9% of the vote, flipping a state that Trump won in 2016.
The CTCL gave about $6.3 million to the five cities, ostensibly for election administration.
Kaardal said, "What’s critical to understand is how legally unauthorized all of this is."