Wisconsin GOP-Led Committee Withholds Recount Funds, Reports Say

December 14, 2020 Updated: December 14, 2020

Two Wisconsin counties are being temporarily denied reimbursement by the Republican-led state Legislature’s budget committee for election recount costs, according to reports.

The Trump campaign paid $3 million for a partial recount in Milwaukee and Dane counties last month, which resulted in a gain of 87 votes for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, confirming his lead in the state count that’s being contested by the president’s campaign over alleged voting irregularities.

Trump’s campaign has alleged that there was widespread fraud and illegal activity in the state, and last week challenged the roughly 220,000 ballots recounted in those counties.

According to a letter shared on Twitter by Dane County Board Chair Analiese Eicher, two GOP lawmakers said on Dec. 11 that they were withholding the funds for last month’s recount, without elaborating.

Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Mark Born, a member of the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee objected to making the reimbursements, according to the letter, which didn’t elaborate on who on the 16-member committee objected or why.

“An objection has been raised to this request and a meeting of the Joint Committee on Finance will be scheduled. Therefore, the request is not approved at this time,” the letter said.

The letter didn’t specify when the meeting would be held.

The counties are required to calculate the actual costs they incurred and are supposed to be reimbursed. If their costs come in below estimates, excess funds are supposed to be returned to Trump’s campaign.

Darling and Born didn’t immediately respond to requests by The Epoch Times for comment.

Responding to the reports, Eicher said on Twitter on Dec. 11 that the costs should be reimbursed.

“Just learned that the Republicans are objecting to reimbursing Dane County for Donald Trump’s recount. Expenses were incurred. We did our job. Time to pay the bill. We’re not a contractor Trump and his allies in the WIGOP can stiff,” Eicher wrote.

Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that lawmakers “are playing politics with money that isn’t theirs,” accusing them of “acting in bad faith.”

“It’s not their money. It’s Trump’s money and this is what he decided to spend it on.”

Under state law, losing candidates can request recounts but must pay the cost upfront if they lost by more than 0.25 percentage points. Biden’s margin of victory was about 0.6 percent.

The Epoch Times won’t declare a winner of the 2020 presidential election until all legal challenges are resolved.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.