Wis. Official Responds to GOP Committee Over Recount Reimbursement: 'Time to Pay the Bill'

A Wisconsin county official fired back at Republican lawmakers in the state after the Republican-led Legislature's budget committee revealed it would be withholding reimbursements to two counties for their election recount costs.

"Just learned that the republicans are objecting to reimbursing Dane County for Donald Trump's recount," Dane County Board Chair Analiese Eicher tweeted last Friday. "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."

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. #wipolitics #recount #Election2020 pic.twitter.com/SrJbMTYWWM

— Analiese Eicher (@analieseeicher) December 11, 2020

Last month, President Donald Trump's campaign paid $3 million for recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties—the state's two most Democratic counties—after President-elect Joe Biden won the state by just over 20,000 votes, or 0.6 percent. State law requires candidates to pay up front for a recount if they lose by more than 0.25 percentage points.

The recount, which was paid in advance by the Trump campaign and was completed and filed on December 1, slightly widened Biden's win to over 22,000, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

In a letter to the Department of Administration, the two Republican leaders of the Wisconsin Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, Senators Alberta Darling of River Hills and Representative Mark Born of Beaver Dam, said that one of the 16 members of the budget committee objected to making the reimbursements.

As a result, the letter said, "the request is not approved at this time." It noted that a committee meeting will be held.

Bob Delaporte, a spokesperson for Darling's office, said that the objection was based on a desire to review the final costs for both counties following the recount.

"Only an estimated cost of $3 million was provided by the counties for the recount process," Delaporte told Newsweek in an email. "It is our understanding the clerks have until December 31 to provide the actual cost of the recount and a more detailed breakdown of those costs. Members on the committee expressed a desire to see the final cost of the recount before they approved the passive review."

Dane and Milwaukee counties are required to calculate all costs of the recount and are later reimbursed, while any excess funds are supposed to be returned to Trump's campaign.

Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on that lawmakers "are playing politics with money that isn't theirs."

"It's acting in bad faith," Christenson told the paper. "It's not their money. It's Trump's money, and this is what he decided to spend it on."

Trump Presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom
President Donald Trump looks on during a ceremony presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to wrestler Dan Gable on December 7. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Last Saturday, a federal judge in Wisconsin dismissed a lawsuit filed by the president seeking to overturn the election results in the state. U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig called the case "extraordinary" and concluded that Wisconsin officials followed appropriate state laws during the election process.

"A sitting president who did not prevail in his bid for reelection has asked for federal court help in setting aside the popular vote based on disputed issues of election administration, issues he plainly could have raised before the vote occurred," Ludwig wrote in his decision.

The latest court defeat was one of over 60 legal losses by the Trump campaign and Republican allies in the past month and came a day after the Supreme Court refused to hear a lawsuit by Texas that sought to prevent four states from casting their electoral vote.

Wisconsin's Supreme Court agreed to hear another Trump campaign lawsuit challenging the election results last Friday, after it appealed a Wisconsin judge's ruling that the state had run a fair election. Arguments were scheduled over the weekend, according to the Journal Sentinel.