PLEASANT PRAIRIE — Citing what he considers a consistent pattern of filtering funds to heavily Democratic voting cities, Pleasant Prairie resident Jay Stone is determined to make his voice heard.
But it’s not just his voice — Stone is going through official channels to put a stop to it.
Stone recently filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Elections Commission, and then just this past week added amended information in his case against the Center for Tech and Civic Life.
From its website, the organization describes its mission: “CTLC is a nationally recognized nonprofit that partners with everyone — from rural election offices to the largest tech companies in the world.”
At the core of the issue, Stone said, is the CTCL’s decision to award $6.32 million in grants to Wisconsin’s five largest cities: Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine, which traditionally vote heavily Democratic.
In the amended complaint, which Stone provided Tuesday, Milwaukee received $2,154,500; Madison, $1,271,788; Green Bay, $1,093,400; Racine, $942,100; and Kenosha, $862,779.
Stone also cited 2016 election numbers as part of his evidence. Milwaukee voted 85% Democratic, Madison 70%, Green Bay 58%, Racine 72% and Kenosha 69%. Trump won Wisconsin by 22,748 votes, or .77%.
“Why these five cities?” Stone asked. “The answer is because the five largest cities in Wisconsin are run by Democrats, and the five largest cities in Wisconsin also have the most votes for Democrats. The last primary, Milwaukee voted 92% Democratic, and they got more than a third of the money from CTCL.
“This is just a pattern. After they finished in Wisconsin, then they moved to Pennsylvania. They granted money to Delaware County, which is heavily Democratic, and then they gave ($12.2) million to Philadelphia, which votes 92% Democrat. They (also) donated money to Detroit in Michigan ($3.95 million), which votes 98% Democrat.”
Funds used from the CTCL are spent toward things like reminder cards and voter registration, Stone said.
“They’re going to be reminding significantly more Democratic voters and registering significantly more Democratic voters,” he said.
The grants in question, Stone said, were awarded by CTCL without an official process in place. Since his complaint has been filed — and after a donation of $250 million by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan — the organization has put in place a grant process.
“There’s a real clear pattern here,” Stone said. “Just because CTCL is a nonprofit designation doesn’t mean they can spread their money any which way they want. Where their grants are going is clearly partisan. They’re making it easier for Democrats to get to the polls.
“What they’re doing is they’re inflating the Democratic votes and are targeting cities, so when you add up the entire state, Joe Biden wins in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Their strategy is something that a campaign would do.”
Stone said the timing of the Zuckerberg donation, in his view, kept the five cities that were awarded grants from getting even more funding help.
“If Zuckerberg had given the money earlier, the five major cities in Wisconsin would have gotten $20 million,” he said. “Wisconsin is a critical state in this election. Trump won Wisconsin by under 1% (in 2016).”
Having a grant application process is critical to ensure that things are being done correctly, Stone said.
“There should be a start date, an end date, who is eligible, a description of the grant, how the money is supposed to be used,” he said. “They didn’t do any of that.”
The amended complaint states that CTCL’s 2020 grants are identified as either “Safe Voting Grants” or “COVID-19 Response Grants,” but Stone wrote in that document that the only expert advice the organization is relying on is from a limited number of public health articles, brochures and studies.
Stone, who said he also filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Justice, added that CTCL’s heavily Democratic lean includes its executive director, Tiana Epps-Johnson, and its director of government services, Whitney May.
Epps-Johnson served a fellowship under former President Barack Obama and also interned with the Young Democrats of America.
“(Epps-Johnson) is an out-and-out Democrat, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Stone said. “She would be entitled to her opinions if she had not tried to influence the election. She’s influencing the election in arguably the three most crucial battleground states, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.”
If he’s victorious in the complaint process, Stone said he wants the five cities in Wisconsin to return any funds that haven’t been spent, and any money that already has been, to be revealed publicly.
Stone also said he has nothing to gain politically from his efforts.
“I am not a Republican,” he said. “I’m an Independent. I live in Pleasant Prairie. It’s run by Democrats, and they do an outstanding job, and I support them.”
A telephone call to the CTCL seeking comment was not returned.