HARRISBURG – Two bills that propose to end the private funding of elections in Pennsylvania were examined during a hearing of the Senate State Government Committee today, according to Senator David G. Argall (R-29), the chairman of the committee.
In the lead up to the 2020 election, over $22.5 million was given to select counties by the Center for Technology and Civic Life, a non-profit that received hundreds of millions in donations from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, to fund election operations.
The Committee listened to testimony that this funding was secretly vetted by officials at the Department of State and initially offered to certain counties selectively, not via an open and transparent application process.
“At a time when many voters lack confidence in Pennsylvania’s elections, even the appearance of potential corruption is highly concerning,” said Senator Argall. “The Pennsylvania constitution states that ‘elections shall be free and equal.’ Selectively funding elections in certain counties with private donations violates this clause and raises the specter of outside groups influencing election outcomes.”
The committee heard testimony from investigative journalist Todd Shepherd of Broad + Liberty, who laid out in detail his findings on how these grants were administered. Also testifying were Senator Lisa Baker, the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 982; Rep. Eric Nelson, the prime sponsor of House Bill 2044; Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman; and Philadelphia City Commissioners Lisa Deely, Seth Bluestein, and Omar Sabir.
All testimony can be reviewed on the Senate State Government Committee’s website.
Contact: Jim Brugger