The Senate Intelligence Committee has recently expanded its ongoing Russia investigation to include the campaign of former Green Party presidential candidate, Jill Stein. Dr. Stein has said that she will comply with the committee’s request for documents pertinent to their investigation of possible Russian tampering with the 2016 presidential election. The Kansas Green Party stands with Dr. Stein and wishes to temper the premature if not impertinent allegations that she has colluded with Russia.
In such a discussion of possible Russian collusion and the claim that Jill Stein had a part to play in the alleged scheme, it would be appropriate to examine a few relevant facts.
First, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has not produced any evidence of Jill Stein’s campaign having colluded with Russia or the Trump campaign. No such evidence has been produced by any intelligence agency either.
Russia collusion allegations directed toward Jill Stein prior to the official inclusion of her campaign in the Russia investigation have stemmed from a widely circulated photo of Stein at a 2015 dinner for the tenth anniversary of the Russian TV network, RT. But Stein had a clear purpose for attending that dinner, and it had nothing to do with getting support from the Russian government for her presidential campaign. Rather, the reported goal of her trip was to reach an international audience as well as Russian officials with a message of diplomacy and peace in Syria, as well as cooperation against the urgent threat of climate change.
What makes it particularly curious that Jill Stein would be targeted in an investigation of Russian tampering with the 2016 presidential election is that she was the only candidate to call for a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. A full recount was only completed in Wisconsin and the effort never really stood a chance of changing the election result, but it did bring attention to many concerning issues with our election system, especially when it comes to recounts. Michigan, for example, has an odd provision that some precincts are not recountable. Experts also said at the time of the recounts that the recount rules were arcane, confusing, and left ample room for lawyers to interpret and put forward legal challenges.
Thus, in the aftermath of the 2016 election, the people of the United States were faced with hard truths regarding the flaws in our electoral system, but it had nothing to do with Russia.
Stein offered the following statement in an email to supporters:
“While interference in our elections is something we take seriously, sensationalism, politicizing and ulterior motives tarnish the process and pose a serious threat. The investigation must not be allowed to become a tool for intimidating and silencing political opposition to the two corporate political parties.”
10,908 signatures were collected in Kansas to get Jill Stein on the ballot for the 2016 presidential election. More than double the amount required. Stein received 23,506 votes from Kansans in the general election. Equal to nearly two percent of the popular vote in Kansas. They were not directed to vote for Jill Stein by Russian ads on Facebook. They were not acting at the behest of some nameless Russian agent. They wanted another option outside of the corrupt two-party system. They were able to see beyond that illusion.