Shortly after the stunning results of the 2016 presidential election, Green Party candidate Jill Stein raised more than $7 million — and liberal hopes — for a swing-state recount. Almost two years later, she’s still spending the money, and her office stopped filing FEC reports nine months ago.
According to Charles Davis at the Daily Beast, donors don’t know how the money is being spent. And being spent it is — the entire sum will likely be spent on Stein’s staff salaries, legal fees and travel costs, so it’s unlikely that Stein will keep her promise that donors would be able to vote on how to use the unspent cash.
Additionally, the Stein campaign stopped filing spending reports with the Federal Election Committee last September. On May 7, the FEC sent the Stein campaign treasurer a letter, warning he could be in violation of federal election law because of it. In April, a public post by the campaign said $932,178 was left in the recount fund.
“It is strange that they would just stop filing reports given they were a legitimate, professional campaign, and despite still having more than a million dollars in cash on hand,” Andrew Mayersohn, a researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics, told the Daily Beast.
Legal work on the recount is still underway, said Stein campaign attorney Jonathan S. Abady, who is with Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady in New York. It’s unclear what that legal work is. Dave Schwab, a Stein campaign spokesperson, said there were still plans for a donor vote on how to use surplus funds, but provided no details on how the money is being spent now. (Schwab made $3,840 from the campaign in September 2017, the last FEC filing.)
Stein’s recount effort raised eyebrows from the beginning. During the presidential campaign, she said there was no Russian interference in the election. When a photo surfaced of Stein dining with Russian President Vladimir Putin and future disgraced national security adviser Mike Flynn in Moscow in 2015, she said she didn’t speak to Flynn or Putin at length and paid her own way to the event, which was a 10th anniversary dinner for Russian state media outlet RT.
In December, the Washington Post reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating Stein for “possible collusion with the Russians.” On April 28, The Hill reported that the Stein campaign was refusing to fully comply with document requests by the Committee, calling them “overbroad.” According to the Daily Beast, Abady said that the Stein campaign had requested access to the software used in Wisconsin’s voting machines, and that was granted in March, but immediately challenged in court by two of the voting-machine companies.