The Democratic Party’s “go-to lawyer,” Marc Elias, promised he would sue Arizona over its election integrity laws passed recently by the state legislature if Governor Doug Ducey signs them into law. Elias was sued by former President Donald Trump on Thursday for his role in the Russigate hoax.
Elias has an expansive and varied portfolio of nearly 30 years among Democrats and corporate capitalists like the major Big Tech companies Facebook and Google. He played an integral role in Hillary Clinton’s Russiagate hoax. He hired intelligence firm Fusion-GPS for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Fusion-GPS then obtained the debunked dossier from former British spy Christopher Steele, dubbed the “Steele dossier,” who relied on a Russian analyst living in Virginia, Igor Danchenko, for the majority of its information.
As AZ Free News reported earlier this month, Elias already submitted a motion to intervene in a case challenging the constitutionality of Arizona’s no-excuse mail-in voting system.
Elias has filed suit in numerous states over their new election integrity laws. He characterized Arizona’s most recent legislation passed, HB2492 requiring proof of citizenship in order to register to vote, as voter suppression and disenfranchisement. The bill mainly impacts those who register using federal forms, which don’t require proof of citizenship.
Other laws that Elias has watched under threat of lawsuit include: HB2237, HB2238, HB2170, and HB2243, which recently passed their Senate committees, and SB1058, which hasn’t been passed by the Senate yet.
How much longer will the government allow Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, and Apple to run amok? Is their penchant to play speech police enough? Google-owned YouTube has a history of deplatforming and demonetizing conservative organizations. And by now, you probably know that Twitter didn’t hesitate to ban President Trump while he was still the President of the United States.
Or what about their influence on this past November’s election? Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg alone gave hundreds of millions of dollars to election offices to influence local elections. And as you can probably assume, it wasn’t to ensure the process remained fair and nonpartisan.
Or could it be Big Tech’s uncanny ability to collude with each other to serve their own interests? Just ask Parler how it went when Apple, Google, and Amazon conspired to remove the new social media company from the internet—an objective that Apple still appears to be committed to.
Arizona’s sentiments on Big Tech’s influence are largely negative, according to a recent study of bipartisan voters across the state. What’s more, a majority of respondents want regulations placed on Big Tech immediately.
Data Orbital, a data analysis and political consulting firm, launched a study last week to get the pulse on Arizona’s perspective on Big Tech and current legislation to regulate it. Researchers surveyed 550 voters and found an abundance of concern over Big Tech’s influence. Over 80 percent of respondents agreed that Big Tech’s power over citizens’ lives is too great. Over 77 percent of individuals further characterized tech companies as self-interested monopolies opposed to small businesses and individuals.
Out of all respondents, nearly 64 percent believed that Arizona should regulate Big Tech’s influence. A few more of those respondents believed that Arizona’s legislature should take action as soon as possible -not wait for D.C. lawmakers to step in.
Specifically, respondents voiced support for HB 2005, a bill to break up Big Tech’s app payment monopoly. Many app platforms require developers to use their payment systems and pay a service fee ranging anywhere from 15 to 30 percent. The legislation would only target platforms that have over 1 million downloads a year, and extend to Arizona-based developers or users. As it stands, Apple and Google are the companies that would be affected by this bill.
Data Orbital published these findings as HB 2005 awaits consideration in the Senate. It passed in the House on March 3.
Big Tech was quick to respond to the threat posed by HB 2005. Lobbyists swarmed the Capitol as soon as they caught wind of State Representative Regina Cobb’s (R-Kingman) intent to introduce the bill. They have argued that the bill was unfair – it would make Apple and Google provide its services to developers and users for free.
Other Big Tech companies concurred with those lobbyist arguments. Twitter Head of Consumer Product Kayvon Beykpour asserted that the commission fees are necessary to run a smooth and ordered system.
“This isn’t just a highway tax,” stated Beykpour. “There’s a lot of cost and effort involved in building these ecosystems that allow you to accept payments, and there’s a lot of fraud or risk involved in the whole customer service flow around refunds. A lot of that is taken off [the consumer’s] plate.”
During the House floor’s final vote on the bill, Cobb’s rebuttal against these arguments was that the “big guys” aren’t having to bear the burden of these commission fees. She pointed out that Big Tech has a monopoly on the market, and noted that there weren’t any legislators in the room without an Apple or Android phone.
“If you have a space, you charge for the space. Well, the big guys are not getting charged for that space,” stated Cobb. “They get charged zero. These 16 percent get charged 30 [percent]. Anything with a million or less that [has] revenues gets charged 15 percent. But if you’re between that million – which is the very small guy – and now up there to that very top guy, that’s that 30 percent. So the equity is not there.”
Other proponents of the bill, such as the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF), add that the bill would allow businesses to innovate. They claim that Big Tech stifles healthy competition and growth.
“Through HB 2005, Arizona is building bipartisan momentum to provide more consumer freedom, lower costs, and increase developer’s ability to thrive and innovate,” stated CAF Executive Director Meghan DiMuzio.
Although HB 2005 has been assigned to committee in the Senate, no action has been taken yet.Corinne Murdock is a contributing reporter for AZ Free News. In her free time, she works on her books and podcasts. Follow her on Twitter, @CorinneMurdock or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the opening lines of a behemoth post-election analysis, Time Magazine tipped their hats to the “business titans” for their help in securing the election for President Joe Biden.
Amongst those titans are the ones controlling a majority of modern social interactions, transactions, and entertainment – Big Tech.
Arizona Free Enterprise Club President Scot Mussi stated that Democrats have become the home party for Big Tech.
“In general, everybody’s frustrated and angry about what’s going on here. Everything’s clearly to silence and target conservative ideologies and beliefs. The Democrat Party has become the party of Big Tech, and Big Tech is gladly going along with them because they share their beliefs. I don’t think there’s been a silver bullet solution that anyone’s come up with.”
Mussi noted that these companies align with the Democratic Party because of where they originated and how their business models run.
“I think it was more so where it originated and located at. You saw this develop out of Silicon Valley, California. I also think that the success related to Big Tech wasn’t the typical small business startup. A lot of what exists is venture capital money. [Basically:] ‘we come up with some hot new idea, it doesn’t matter if we make any money on it but let’s grow this thing and turn around and sell it to make a profit.’ There’s no family-run businesses in tech. They’re generally all left-of-center. It drives the culture in these firms.”
Mussi attributed Big Tech’s sweetheart deal with Democrats for causing their party to flip their outward narrative when it comes to big business.
“Democrats live and breathe trashing the big guys. That’s been their bread and butter for 100 years, and now it’s been an open embrace by and large publicly,” stated Mussi. “[Big Tech is] accomplishing their goals – silencing conservatives.”
Zuckerberg pumped the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) with over $350 million for the 2020 elections. Those funds went on to the local elections offices in counties nationwide. Arizona received $5 million, with a $3 million chunk alloted to the county that handed Biden the state: Maricopa County.
Biden won Maricopa despite Trump netting around 400,000 more votes than in 2016. And, Biden received nearly 511,000 more votes than Clinton did in 2016, and over 740,474 more votes than Obama in 2012.
As previously reported, research indicated that CTCL funds swayed the election results in one political direction significantly.
The spending power of Big Tech moguls like Zuckerberg has influenced states to alter their voting systems and laws. Their millions go toward increasing voting turnout efforts in blue areas, while ignoring red ones.
Funding is just one part of their agenda. Big Tech also meddles with the manipulation of information to the public.
A whistleblower has been leaking video discussions from Facebook executives in which they admit to interfering with elections through the control of information – or, as the Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen phrased it, “efforts to protect the election.” That information becoming transparent wasn’t approved by Big Tech, however. Within days, Twitter banned Project Veritas from their platform.
Silicon Valley has grown more sophisticated in their process of squelching any opposition of thought, especially concerning elections.
In what appeared to be a coordinated effort, some of the biggest players in Big Tech banished and dismantled an entire platform from online existence. Parler, marketed as a safe haven for conservatives and open dialogue, was targeted following the January 6 Capitol riot.
Over the course of several days, Parler was yanked from both Apple and Google’s app stores. Individuals who’d downloaded the app before this revocation were limited further, once both app hosts rendered Parler defunct through system updates. Then, Amazon stepped in and dealt the death blow: they removed Parler from their servers so users couldn’t even access the platform online.
Arizona legislators are approaching the Big Tech elephant with one-bite approaches. In this session, several bills propose solutions to scale back Big Tech’s influence.
Most recently, the House has passed a bill that would impact Big Tech’s funding of election offices. If passed by the Senate, the bill would likely scale back those partisan advantages gained from billionaires’ funding.
The House is also considering a bill currently that would loosen Big Tech companies’ grasp on the market. Naturally, lobbyists for Apple and Google took to the state capitol to work against the bill.
However, those are just a few measures that would curb Big Tech’s sway on the election. Mussi acknowledged that these state-level measures were a start, but indicated that the federal government would have to step in as well.
“The question is what you do about it and how you handle it. Because at the state level, I don’t know if there is a silver bullet.”
Corinne Murdock is a contributing reporter for AZ Free News. In her free time, she works on her books and podcasts. Follow her on Twitter, @CorinneMurdock or email tips to email@example.com.