We’re about to see something of a show in the Louisiana legislature now that Gov. John Bel Edwards has vetoed HB 20, the Zuckerbucks bill authored by House Republican delegation chair Rep. Blake Miguez.
The bill would make it illegal for private money to flow into elections offices in Louisiana, something which became a very serious problem around the country in the 2020 presidential election. Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, and his wife funded something called the Center for Tech and Civic Life with nearly $400 million, and that outfit used those funds to make grants to local elections officials in order to “aid” them in running elections last year.
The cover story was that COVID-19 would make it more difficult to operate elections and the Zuckerbucks would help to fix that. But the cover story was a flat-out lie.
We know this because where that grant money ended up was fairly obviously partisan in orientation. The Zuckerbucks flowed to Atlanta, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and other such places. It didn’t flow to suburbs and exurbs. And what happened was that the money corrupted those local elections offices in uniformly Democrat areas into get-out-the-vote operations for the Biden campaign.
It’s pretty much a no-brainer that if you’re going to provide funding for elections officials that needs to be done in an across-the-board manner, and it also needs to be done on the basis of public accountability – meaning somebody who’s an elected official needs to be ultimately responsible. Like the Secretary of State, for example. But Mark Zuckerberg isn’t accountable, so letting him pick and choose where the funding of the people tabulating the votes is about as beyond the pale as you can get.
Miguez passed basically the same bill in the legislature last year. Edwards vetoed it. That was before the election. The bill, and the stink Attorney General Jeff Landry made about the Zuckerbucks grants last summer, were nevertheless enough that no Center for Tech and Civic Life grants were made in Louisiana (at one time the word was Orleans, East Baton Rouge, Caddo and St. Landry Parishes would be in life for grants).
Edwards vetoing the bill again shows a couple of things. First, that he is an unmitigated and unapologetic slave to political corruption. The bill doesn’t even affect him, as his electoral career in Louisiana is more or less over unless he wants to try his hand at getting blown up by John Kennedy in next year’s Senate election, and yet he’s still for corrupting the process.
And second, that regardless of whatever lies he might like to tell about being a “moderate” or even a “conservative” Democrat, he is nothing more than a drone for the national Democrat Party. And Democrats have thrown a fit over bills like Miguez’ HB 20 in every state they’ve been introduced.
So now we’ll see a show, because Miguez’ bill went to Edwards’ desk in plenty enough time for the Legislature to hold a veto override in this session before it ends tomorrow night.
Will he have the votes?
Well, the bill passed with a 69-35 vote in the House. That would be one short of the number needed to override – but at the time, Laurie Schlegel hadn’t been sworn in yet. Schlegel would be the 70th vote for it, so if everything goes well the votes are there in the House.
And in the Senate it passed on a 26-11 vote. That’s enough for an override. Assuming Heather Cloud, who was absent the day the bill passed in the Senate, is on hand you’re at 27 votes – Cloud would be an enthusiastic supporter of the bill.
It’s fair to expect HB 20 will get on the calendar pretty quickly – it’s on the House’s agenda today. It’ll make a bit of news if the Legislature overrides Edwards, as that would be the single most significant election reform measure taken in this session and a major defeat for the governor.