Updated: Oct 27, 2022
By: Thomas More Society Staff Writer
September 6, 2022
Thomas More Society Attorneys Counter Benson’s “Excuses” in $17M Illegal Election Influence Scheme
Thomas More Society attorneys filed their reply to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s defense in a lawsuit challenging Benson’s failure to follow Michigan’s Election Code and Constitution. Benson allowed Mark Zuckerberg-funded organizations to pay local election officials millions of dollars in exchange for directing how the election officials conduct Michigan elections. At least $17 million of unreported payments were made to Michigan election officials. Evidence confirms that Benson was aware of this private funding scheme and even encouraged election officials to participate. The reply brief filed August 30, 2022, in the Michigan Court of Appeals on behalf of a group of Michigan voters, addressed Benson’s claims that she is not responsible because “she did not personally hand out the money” and that the courts have no authority to review her failure to follow Michigan law because the election scheme occurred in the 2020 general election.
“Secretary Benson is wrong,” explained Thomas More Society Special Counsel Thor Hearne. “This lawsuit does not seek to relitigate the results of the 2020 general election. Rather, it is about how future Michigan elections are conducted and Secretary Benson’s responsibility to conduct elections according to Michigan’s Constitution and Election Code so that every Michigan voter has equal access to the ballot.”
As for Benson’s claim that she is immune from judicial accountability because she did not personally hand out the money, Hearne disagrees. Benson is Michigan’s “Chief Election Responsibility.” She was elected to assure that every Michigan citizen and eligible voter has equal access to the ballot and that the election is conducted in a fair and just manner consistent with Michigan’s Election Code and state Constitution.
Benson does not dispute that “she is responsible for supervising Michigan elections and directing how Michigan – and other – election officials conduct the election,” Hearne stated. “Nor does she deny that she was fully aware of and supported this private funding scheme. Secretary Benson is asking the court to overlook her responsibility and hold that, because she did not personally pay the money to election officials, she bears no responsibility.”
Hearne noted that Benson actually encouraged local election officials to participate in the private funding scheme. And no one disputes the fact that Zuckerberg-funded organizations paid Michigan election officials close to $20 million, possibly more, and directed how these election officials would use this money to conduct Michigan elections.
The lawsuit against Benson was first filed in October 2020 challenging the almost $20 million paid by billionaire Facebook founder Zuckerberg to local election officials through a third-party charitable organization, the Center for Tech and Civic Life. In exchange for money paid to them by the Center for Tech and Civic Life, local election officials agreed to conduct the election in a manner to increase mail-in voting. The funds were given to predominantly Democratic urban jurisdictions, including the cities of Detroit and Flint. The Zuckerberg money was also used to buy remote unattended ballot drop-boxes that were used for allegedly illegal ballot harvesting.
This funding is referred to as “dark money,” or political spending meant to influence the decision of a voter, where the donor is not disclosed, and the source of the money is unknown. The bipartisan Carter-Baker Commission on Election Reform found that mail-in ballots were the most common mechanism for vote fraud and illegal voting. Remote unattended ballot drop boxes enable ballot harvesting schemes and undermine public confidence in the honesty and integrity of elections.
Read the Plaintiffs-Appellants’ Reply Brief filed on behalf of Michigan voters on August 30, 2022, in the State of Michigan Court of Appeals by Thomas More Society attorneys, in Dan Ryan, et al. v. Jocelyn Benson here.