Texas AG investigating Zuckerberg-backed nonprofit over election concerns

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Former Trump Economic Adviser Kevin Hassett discusses the results of the midterm elections as the Republican Party continues to pick up more congressional seats. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced an investigation on Thursday into a Chicago-based nonprofit, alleging that it may have used funds to "support partisan electioneering efforts" while soliciting donations "under the pretext of protecting voters from COVID-19." 

A Civil Investigation Demand addressed to the Center for Tech and Civil Life (CTCL) on Thursday requests various documents related to tax filings, charitable registration forms, and donations from Texans. 

"Charities cannot mislead their donors and misrepresent the purpose of their fundraising," Paxton said in a statement. "Further, in Texas, as in other states, it is the duty of state and county officials, accountable to the people of Texas, to ensure that elections are fair, safe, and free." 

A voter waits in line to cast their ballot during the midterm elections, in McAllen, Texas, U.S., November 8, 2022. (REUTERS/Callaghan O’Hare / Reuters Photos)

The CTLC received at least $300 million in 2020 from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, an organization established by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. 

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The nonprofit bills itself as a "team of civic technologists, trainers, researchers, election administration and data experts" that helps "election officials adopt the tools and skills necessary to meet the changing needs of today’s public."

CTLC and other nonprofits came under fire following the 2020 election cycle, with some conservatives alleging that the funds were used for partisan purposes. 

Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg attend the 2020 Breakthrough Prize Red Carpet at NASA Ames Research Center on November 03, 2019 in Mountain View, California.  (Ian Tuttle/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize / Getty Images)

Several states controlled by Republicans passed laws in the past two years prohibiting private donations to election offices. 

The Zuckerbergs said last year that they would not make donations for election infrastructure in the 2022 cycle. 

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CTLC said earlier this year that it would not be disbursing grants for election offices in this year's midterm elections, instead establishing a collaborative network that officials can turn to for resources. 

A spokesperson or CTLC did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday about Paxton's investigation. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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