The Trump campaign paid the state of Wisconsin roughly $3 million before the partial recounts in Dane and Milwaukee County even began.
But the state legislature is holding up those funds.
To be clear, President Trump had to pay roughly $3 million upfront to Wisconsin before the recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties could take place.
That money is intended for everything involved with a recount – including paying workers and leasing a venue.
But the counties are still waiting for that money, after the Republican-led Joint Finance Committee – the legislative budget-writing committee – has temporarily halted the state reimbursing those counties.
On Saturday, the JFC announced the hold up after reporting an anonymous objection from a member of the committee.
Analiese Eicher, the chair of the Dane County Board of Supervisors, says Milwaukee and Dane County can’t be reimbursed until after the Joint Finance Committee holds a hearing on whether or not to release the funds.
She says the move is inappropriate. Eicher says she doesn’t expect the state legislature, which hasn’t met since April and will be swearing in new legislators in less than a month, to take action any time soon.
“I’m not too hopeful,” Eicher says.
An aide for Representative Mark Born, the Republican co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee, told W-O-R-T today that the committee was not “withholding” funds, but that the counties had not yet calculated the cost of the recount.
In November, on the last day of the recount, Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said the projected cost of the recount in Dane County was about $740,000 and about $2 million in Milwaukee County, and the counties are only reimbursed for actual costs.
“We have to provide specific receipts to the election commission that pass it on to the campaign.” McDonell said, “We’ll show them the bill from Monona Terrace so that gets paid, we’ll show them the bill for Madison police so that gets paid, to the tabulators, that gets paid, so it’s only actual costs.”
Eicher criticized state Republicans on Twitter after the letter was released last Friday, arguing that Dane county had followed the recount process, and shouldn’t be stuck with the bill.
“The bigger question for us is why is it happening,” Eicher says, “and are Dane and Milwaukee counties once again being targeted by the Republicans?”