Former President Donald Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 election by propagating baseless claims of mass voter fraud have cost taxpayers more than $519 million, an analysis by The Washington Post found.
The Post tallied the cost from reviews of local, state, and federal spending records, and interviews with government officials. The costs included legal fees, damage costs from the Capitol siege in January, military and security expenses, and more.
Not long after the election was declared a victory for President Joe Biden, Trump falsely claimed there was mass election fraud, saying, with no evidence, that the election was stolen.
Trump and his Republican allies spent the weeks leading up to Biden's inauguration filing dozens of lawsuits in swing states attempting to overturn the results, delay certification, or throw out votes. They failed to win any of them.
Altogether, states spent $2.2 million on legal challenges and security for election officials, the Post found.
Pennsylvania, for instance, paid outside lawyers as much as $480 per hour to work against Trump's election fraud lawsuits.
At a "Save America" rally shortly before Congress began certifying the electoral vote on January 6, Trump told a crowd of supporters to march to the Capitol and continued to allege mass voter fraud. He also falsely claimed that Congress and Vice President Mike Pence could "decertify" the election results and give him another term.
The House of Representatives impeached Trump for "incitement of insurrection" for his role in the riot. The Senate will hold an impeachment trial next week.
The riot led to a demand for increased security around lawmakers and the Capitol ahead of the impeachment trial.
National Guard troops were deployed to Washington, DC, following the attack and some will remain there until mid-March. The Post reported that the cost for that is at least $480 million. Additionally, the week of the attack, the DC Metropolitan Police spent $8.8 million protecting the Capitol.
Costs for repairing the Capitol to clean up the damage of the attack, the cost for the US Park Police to clean up the National Mall, and costs for additional staffing, overtime, and medical bills from Capitol Police are also still unknown.
Members of Congress are also now using their publicly funded Members' Representational Allowances, which comes from taxpayer money, to secure personal protective resources, from bulletproof vests to private security details and surveillance cameras, the Post reported.
Acting Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman last month proposed permanently keeping the fence that was installed around the Capitol building following the January 6 riot.
The move garnered pushback from local officials, but if it were to be implemented, beyond being approved by the Capitol Police Board, the House and Senate would also have to approve appropriating funds to fortify the building.
States so far also spent $28 million for security relating to the insurrection and inauguration, the Post reported.
The costs included protecting their own statehouses following the Capitol attack. For instance, state officials in California spent around $19 million deploying National Guard and state troopers to the state Capitol and other locations between Jan. 14 to Jan. 21, the Post reported.
In Texas and North Carolina, taxpayers paid for helicopters to monitor potential protests, and in cities like Lansing, Michigan, and Olympia, Washington, they paid for temporary fencing and extra security details for state lawmakers going to legislative sessions.