Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Special counsel spent $3.2 million in its first four months

Rod Rosenstein Michel du Cille | The Washington Post | Getty Images Rod Rosenstein
Melinda Barton | 06 December, 2017, 16:30

The Justice Department also spent another $3.5 million to support the investigation, though the special counsel's office said that money would have been spent anyway if Mueller had not been appointed.

Although the expenditures that took place between mid-May and September 30 for the special counsel's operations are relatively low compared with what many had anticipated, they could provide additional fodder for Republicans who have been critical of Mueller's work.

It's hard to make comparisons to other investigations led by specially designated prosecutors or to draw conclusions about how much Mueller will ultimately spend.

The special counsel's overall budget has not been made public.

Other spending was listed at $733,969 for equipment, $223,643 in travel, $362,550 for rent communications and utilities, $157,339 for contractual services and $26,442 for supplies and materials.

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog, last month sued the Justice Department in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia for a copy of the budget, after seeking it through a Freedom of Information Act request. This statement has also been provided to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the House Committee on the Judiciary. In late July, the cost to taxpayers of Trump's Mar-a-Lago trips was estimated to already be at $6.6 million.

"This investigation is impairing the legitimate conduct of the legitimately elected President of the United States".

The bulk of those expenditures are on personnel, with $1.2 million spent on DOJ employees reassigned to Mueller's team and about $500,000 on others brought in on the investigation. The private practice lawyers who joined Mueller's office each gave up more than a million dollars in annual pay, according to their previously reported financial disclosures. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with Russia's ambassador during the transition period, and, in a potentially ominous sign for the White House, agreed to cooperate with Mueller.