The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) and its 501(c)(4) arm, the Opportunity Solutions Project, have emerged as key drivers of state policies that undermine the freedom to vote.
Founded in Florida in 2010, FGA is part of the alliance of state-based think tanks called the State Policy Network. Although initially focused on Florida state policy, FGA has since expanded its focus nationwide, and following President Trump’s lies about the 2020 election being “rigged,” added “election integrity” as a top priority in 2021.
FGA boasted that it “achieved more than 70 election integrity policy wins across 19 states” in 2022, with Missouri enacting 13 of FGA”s “election integrity solutions” and South Carolina passing an election bill “containing 18 of our reforms," according to FGA's annual report. In 2021, FGA claimed “65 [election reform] policy victories across 14 states including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Texas,” according to its 2021 annual report.
FGA is not a grassroots operation; instead, it largely provides technical expertise and support to state lawmakers and advocates. FGA has boasted of its role in helping to craft dozens of election bills, and FGA staff regularly provide expert testimony on election legislation in state legislative hearings—in some cases, FGA staff are the only people testifying.
In 2023, one of FGA’s top priorities has been blocking states and local communities from enacting ranked choice voting
(RCV), a reform that allows voters to rank their preferred candidates and which
has long had bipartisan support. FGA has issued multiple reports, talking
points, op-eds, and model state bills to block voters from having a ranked
choice voting option. FGA has testified in favor of ranked choice voting bans
in states like South Dakota, Texas,
Idaho, and Montana, and reportedly played a key role in thwarting bipartisan
RCV reforms in Georgia and Virginia. FGA says that in 2023 it is also focusing
on “promoting election integrity reforms to prevent ballot harvesting,
enforce existing election laws, and stop outside influence in the election
Since 2021, FGA has had a particular focus
on promoting “Zuck bucks” laws that ban outside support for under-resourced
election offices. Those laws, which have passed in over a dozen states, are a
response to conspiracy theories pushed by Trump and his allies alleging
Facebook’s CEO and his wife “rigged” the 2020 election by funding a nonprofit that supported local election offices in red, purple, and blue municipalities.
FGA launched an in-house polling center in 2021, the “Center for Excellence in Polling,” which has conducted polling on "election integrity" in dozens of
states, as well as widely cited polling and messaging guidance to shape public support for restrictive
FGA’s single largest financial backer is a
foundation controlled by billionaire Dick Uihlein, who has been one of
the key funders of election denial. Since 2014, FGA has received
$17.6 million from Uihlein’s foundation. FGA has also received substantial
funding from the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, which the New Yorker’s Jane
Mayer has described as “an extraordinary force in persuading
mainstream Republicans to support radical challenges to election rules,” and in
2020 received FGA $2
million from the Leonard Leo-tied 85 Fund.