Trump Campaign Spends Millions—to Confirm Biden Won Wisconsin

The recount Trump paid for added to Biden’s vote tally.

An election worker tests a vote counting machine at the Wisconsin Center Convention Hall on November 20 as part of the recount in Milwaukee County.Pat A. Robinson/ZUMA Wire

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The presidential election may be over, but the Trump campaign is fundraising like it’s 2019. Over the past 24 hours, 13 different email appeals from the campaign have flooded my inbox. In the weeks since the election, they’ve arrived almost like clockwork every two hours. Sometimes they offer a mystery gift. Other times, they criticize me for my lack of loyalty to the campaign, like this one from Eric Trump: 

The appeals are frantic, desperate calls to help fund the campaign’s legal efforts to “defend the election from the radical left, the FAKE NEWS media, and BIG TECH.” Of course, most of the money raised through such appeals will go to helping Trump retire campaign debt, of which he had more than $1 million as of October 14. But even if some of it really does go to Trump’s doomed efforts to overturn the election through litigation and recounts, potential donors might want to think twice about how the campaign is spending its resources before sending any money. 

The most recent case in point: The campaign paid $3 million of its donor money to the Wisconsin Elections Commission for recounts in two counties in the state, Milwaukee and Dane, where President-elect Joe Biden won handily. Trump had argued (baselessly) that the election was rife with fraud, and his campaign is trying to disqualify nearly 240,000 ballots cast in those two counties. The Dane County recount should wrap up on Sunday, but the outcome isn’t looking great for Trump. On Friday, officials announced that the recount in Milwaukee had netted an additional 132 votes—for Biden. 

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In "It's Not a Crisis. This Is the New Normal," we explain, as matter-of-factly as we can, what exactly our finances look like, how brutal it is to sustain quality journalism right now, what makes Mother Jones different than most of the news out there, and why support from readers is the only thing that keeps us going. Despite the challenges, we're optimistic we can increase the share of online readers who decide to donate—starting with hitting an ambitious $300,000 goal in just three weeks to make sure we can finish our fiscal year break-even in the coming months.

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