Looks like Trump was right. Jill Stein’s rowdy recount push ended with a whimper overnight, giving Donald Trump even more votes than he started with after final certification — but it wasn’t a total wash for the Green Party candidate, who brought in millions and put herself in a position to redistribute the leftover cash.
She raised about $7.3 million in three weeks to fund recount efforts, more than double what she raised for her failed presidential campaign.
The money poured in from 161,300 donors across the country. Another 10,000 volunteers signed up to help the drive. It’s unclear exactly how much remains — millions went to recount costs and legal fees — but she announced Tuesday she plans to donate leftover funds to election-reform and voting-rights groups.
“It was an amazing affirmation of the power of the American people to have a voice in their voting system and demand elections with integrity,” Stein said in a statement Tuesday.
These recounts didn’t accomplish anything. Her attempts to get fresh tallies in Michigan and Pennsylvania were blocked in court. Stein had suggested – without evidence – that voting machines in those states and Wisconsin could have been hacked in the November election.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schutte, a Republican, argued in the lawsuit that a hand recount would cost taxpayers around $2 million. Other esimates put it as high as $12 million.
Though unsuccessful in Michigan, Stein was able to request and pay for the Wisconsin recount which started on Dec. 1. But that effort resulted in Trump picking up 131 net votes, as his victory was certified in all three states.
Trump boasted on Twitter: “The final Wisconsin vote is in and guess what – we just picked up an additional 131 votes. The Dems and Green Party can now rest. Scam!”
The fizzling finish came after Stein faced accusations of wasting time and draining grassroots resources.
Stein’s own running mate initially was against the recount, as was Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
But Stein insisted all along her goal wasn’t to overturn the results of the presidential election but instead to instill confidence in the election results and voting systems. At the least, the effort has allowed her to stay in the spotlight, and with her announcement Tuesday puts her in charge of distributing the leftover funds she raised. It also connected her with more donors.
Jordan Brueckner, a spokeswoman for Stein’s recount drive, told FoxNews.com that all 161,000-plus donors will have a say in where the extra money is donated – a task perhaps easier said than done.
The campaign has pledged to divvy up the funds to a set of non-partisan organizations.
“We don’t have a name for the organizations but we’ll give the donors an option [of where the money will go],” she said during a telephone interview.
The amount of cash given to the groups will be based on a ranked-choice vote which will be made public on Stein’s website in the coming weeks, Brueckner said.
Democratic strategist Joe Trippi told The Hill he thought recount efforts were a way for Stein “to stay relevant, raise some money and take the stink off of them.”
“Instead of everybody screaming, ‘You made Trump happen,’ she is counting the votes to change that whole narrative.’”