(The Center Square) – Legislative Republicans excoriated Gov. Tom Wolf for “playing favorites” after a report concluded his administration helped only Democratic counties secure $21 million in private grants ahead of the 2020 election.
Broad + Liberty reported the Pennsylvania Department of State and various left-wing groups worked together to funnel private grant funding to Democratic-leaning counties without offering the same assistance to Republican-leaning counties.
“This latest report indicates the administration and the Department of State played favorites when they connected certain counties to large sums of grant funding while ignoring other counties,” Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, said. “Not only did this create unequal access to voters, but it also essentially disenfranchised voters in counties that did not receive equal funding.”
READ MORE — Former Sec. of State Boockvar and Gov. Wolf staffer helped selectively invite counties for election grants
About half of the money – procured through the Chicago-based Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) – went to Philadelphia County, Grove said, representing about $10 spent per voter there. Other counties received around $1 per voter, he said.
The Center Square previously reported 13 counties across Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia received the private grants last year after challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic forced local officials to burn through their annual budgets long before the Nov. 3 election.
In an interview with APM Reports, Chester County’s acting Director of Voting Services Bill Turner described the $2.5 million grant his office received as “a lifesaver” that he used to fund 14 drop boxes, body cameras and extra poll workers.
“Honestly, I don’t know what we would have done without it,” Turner said.
CTCL donated $350 million to more than 2,500 jurisdictions across the country for election administration after the federal government set aside $400 million for the cause – far short of the $4 billion some analysts said was necessary.
The organization said any election department could apply, and grants ranged from $5,000 to $19 million.
According to the Broad + Liberty report, however, an invitation to apply for funding was sent to all counties Sept 1. after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated $250 million – nearly a month and a half after Democrat-leaning counties were invited, the report found.
An invitation to apply for funding was sent to all counties Sept 1. after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated $250 million – nearly a month and a half after Democrat-leaning counties were invited.
Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte, criticized the state’s role in the grant process and said it raises “even more questions” about the “blatant political bias” in the election.
“Many lawmakers have questioned why private election grants were awarded predominantly to counties that voted for Democrats, even after accounting for population density,” he said. “Now we have emails showing the Department of State, the Governor’s Office and various left-wing groups were working together to ensure private grant money was funneled to areas where Democrats were expected to vote in droves.”
Natalie Kapustik is a contributor to The Center Square.
This article was republished with permission from The Center Square.
One thought on “Pennsylvania Republicans blast Wolf administration’s role in private election grant process”
PA republicans are suffering from Wolf Derangement Syndrome and will attack him for anything they can construe as unfair (ie a threat to their grip on power). Doesn’t matter how tenuous the “evidence” is or how hypocritical the attacks may be. Fact is 1) there’s no proof that Dem leaning counties don’t need more funding and 2) the GOP was caught red handed trying to play politics with a supposedly apolitical process on a MUCH larger scale when we saw Thomas Hofeller’s emails. They revealed their attempts to rig the 2020 census and redistricting process. This highly influential GOP sleazeball once said, “Redistricting is like an election in reverse. It’s a great event. Usually the voters get to pick the politicians. In redistricting, the politicians get to pick the voters.” And advised that the census, a process so sacred to our republic it’s outlined in article 1 of the constitution, could be weaponized in a way that “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.” So please, spare us the hemming and hawing about this so-called election grant “scandal”.