WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - You could almost call this story a political whodunnit!  Who took money from big tech - often referred to as Zuckerbucks - to help finance the 2020 elections?

The fight over Zuckerbucks goes back to when companies from around the nation began to help with the fight to run a safe election during a pandemic by offering up everything from hand sanitizer to cash grants.  Many of those grants came from big tech, like Amazon and Facebook.

Thus, the grants became known as Zuckerbucks after Mark Zuckerberg, who's non-profit, the Center of Tech and Civic Life was the largest out there. Conservatives worried those ties to big tech, many of them companies with plans to begin selling election machines in the future, might influence future elections.

What does that have to do with this year's Secretary of State Republican primary?  

The GOP challenger for Kansas Secretary of State, Mike Brown, has accused current Secretary of State Scott Schwab in social media posts of accepting millions of these Zuckerbucks for Kansas elections.

It's an accusation Schwab denies.

"We didn't take it because there's so much technology in election space," Schwab said.  "You don't want anything that can be perceived as a conflict of interest."

Schwab says he did leave it up to counties to decide for themselves with less than a quarter taking the grants.  Among those who accepted the money was Johnson County, where Mike Brown was a county commissioner at the time.  On October 8, 2020, Brown was the commissioner who moved to accept the money.

"I move to accept the grant from the Center of Tech and Civic Life in the amount of $856,245," Brown said in the recorded meeting available online. "To be used for the purpose of continued planning and operationalizing safe and secure election administration in Johnson County, Kansas in 2020."

"I get accused of something that the person accusing me themself did," Schwab said.  "He did it and blamed me. I'm sorry, but you're not going to live very long in Kansas politics if you live that way."

Brown saw things differently when we reached to him.

 After playing phone tag with us for a bit, he sent KAKE News this statement: “Scott Schwab lied to county commissioners around the state about where the funding was coming from, we were told it was from a non-profit while he knew or should have known as Secretary of State, they were Zuckerbucks.  As your next Secretary of State, I will make sure that counties know where the funding is coming from BEFORE they vote. This non-sense will not happen on my watch.”