Wyoming secretary of state warns of elections’ vulnerability to foreign money: ‘Deeply disturbing’

FIRST ON FOX: Wyoming’s Republican secretary of state is sounding the alarm over potential vulnerabilities of his state’s election system to the affect of outdoor non-public teams, together with teams that take funding from a Swiss billionaire identified for spreading political affect in the US.

“I’m writing to warn and warning in opposition to any makes an attempt made by third events to fund the administration of elections in Wyoming,” Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Grey wrote to county clerks in his state in a letter obtained by Fox Information Digital.

“That is particularly crucial, given the inflow of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} to initiatives, together with the deceptively named ‘U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence,’ which have set their sights on deceptive techniques on native election workplaces throughout the nation.”

Grey referred to the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence because the “newest try for third events to affect election administration.” The U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, a program launched by the Middle for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) in 2022, has been criticized by conservatives throughout the nation for pedaling liberal election affect and was investigated by Georgia officers this yr over allegations of violating state legislation.


Wyss with Bloomberg, right, Wyoming voters on election day, left

Left: Wyoming residents vote within the 2022 election. Proper: Former New York Metropolis Mayor Michael Bloomberg, left, shakes palms with Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss. (Getty Pictures)

Within the letter, Grey outlines considerations about CTCL’s involvement within the 2020 election throughout which lots of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} had been funneled into varied districts, a few of which got here from a one-time donation from Fb founder Mark Zuckerberg, with the said function of offering COVID-19 associated assets.

“Whereas roughly $400 million was finally funneled to native election workplaces in 47 states, solely small parts of grant {dollars} had been traced to PPE (private protecting gear) and enormous discrepancies stay with reporting which funds went to the place,” Grey wrote. “A big portion of cash did, nevertheless, go towards huge electioneering efforts which had nothing to do with COVID-19. Many of those grants got here with vital strings hooked up, together with the divulgence of elections operations, sharing of knowledge, and being topic to ‘improvement plans’ geared toward structural change of election administration.”

Trustworthy Elections Challenge Govt Director Jason Snead informed Fox Information Digital that a lot of CTCL’s operations had been targeted on liberal strongholds.


Hansjörg Wyss, right, shaking hands with Michael Bloomberg

Former New York Metropolis Mayor Michael Bloomberg, left, and Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss attend Oceana’s New York Metropolis profit in 2015. (Craig Barritt/Getty Pictures for Oceana)

“The left-wing Middle for Tech and Civic Life’s non-public funding of election administration has been revealed to be a turnout operation in largely Democratic strongholds,” Snead stated. “CTCL’s latest operation, the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, is extra of the identical: An try to make use of extra funds to lure native election workplaces into changing into key elements of the left’s election technique.”

“The truth that a overseas nationwide can have such an enormous affect in our elections ought to alarm each American.”

— Caitlin Sutherland, govt director of People for Public Belief

“What’s worse, CTCL creates alternatives for overseas actors to affect how American elections are run,” Snead added. “A single Swiss billionaire, Hansjörg Wyss, has funneled lots of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} into varied left-wing causes meant to affect American politics. Since 2016 he has given a minimum of $245 million to Arabella Advisors’ darkish cash behemoths New Enterprise Fund and Sixteen Thirty Fund. In 2020 alone, CTCL acquired $25 million from New Enterprise Fund. CTCL and its new Alliance are opening avenues for overseas billionaires to pump funds immediately into the center of US elections.”

Caitlin Sutherland, govt director of People for Public Belief, informed Fox Information Digital that Wyss is the “most influential determine in politics that you’ve got by no means heard of.”


“Wyss has shipped almost half a billion {dollars} to left-wing causes, impacting each American, largely routing his overseas cash by way of teams within the Arabella Advisors darkish cash community,” Sutherland stated. “The truth that a overseas nationwide can have such an enormous affect in our elections ought to alarm each American.”

Grey informed Fox Information Digital that it’s “deeply disturbing” that personal entities are “working to affect election administration nationwide” and “could possibly be used as a conduit for overseas actors to improperly affect American election administration.”

“I’m additionally disturbed that Wyoming stays particularly weak, given our lack of a statutory ban on non-public funding of elections,” Grey stated. “Because of this our workplace is main the cost in Wyoming to make sure county clerks are conscious of the complexity of methods used to strong-arm election administration and to make sure that Wyoming adopts a ban on non-public funding of elections. Beneath our administration, we are going to work to ensure non-public funding of elections and overseas affect don’t have any place within the Cowboy State.”

Wyoming voters casting ballots

Voters solid their ballots at a polling location in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on Aug. 16, 2022. (David Williams/Bloomberg through Getty Pictures)

Snead informed Fox Information Digital that each state must be taking comparable steps to make sure that non-public and overseas election funding doesn’t occur.

“Trustworthy Elections Challenge applauds Secretary Grey for shifting to warn clerks in Wyoming of the Alliance’s grave threat to public confidence in elections,” Snead stated.


“For years, Congress has underfunded state and native election departments,” Tiana Epps-Johnson, founder and govt director of CTCL, informed Fox Information Digital in an announcement. “Simply final yr, Congress slashed funding for election departments from $400 million to simply $75 million and with 10,000 jurisdictions within the nation, that isn’t sufficient to make sure election departments can forestall hacking, hold IT networks safe, make polling locations ADA compliant, and guarantee sufficient employees to maintain ballot employees secure.”

Fox Information Digital reached out to Hansjörg Wyss’ group however didn’t obtain a response by time of publication.

Fox Information Digital’s Aaron Kliegman contributed to this report.

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