How special counsel Mueller spent his money
Share Now on:
This story was updated May 29, 2019.
In light of the release of Mueller’s 448-page report and his recent press conference addressing its contents, let’s do the numbers on Mueller’s probe.
Throughout Mueller’s two-year stint as special counsel, one question was asked repeatedly: How much money is being spent on his investigation?
Funds used in independent investigations like Mueller’s are appropriated for the explicit purpose of independent investigations.
Although it’s unknown whether a full, unredacted version of the report will be released to the public, there is quite a bit we do know, gleaned from multiple statements of expenditure and other documents released pertaining to ongoing investigations.
From the day of his appointment to the day of the report’s release, Mueller spent 22 months, or 701 days, investigating whether there was Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Special Counsel’s Office has released three statements of expenditure since the beginning of the investigation. At least one more statement will be released covering the period between Oct. 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019, the Special Counsel’s Office told Marketplace in an email.
Between May 2017 and last September, the office of the Special Counsel spent more than $25 million on the investigation.
But where exactly does all this money go? To all the places you’d expect: rent, personnel compensation, contractor fees and other supplies. One line item present on each statement is for “transportation of things,” which in total has cost upward of $2,280.
Ever wondered how much Mueller is being paid for investigating whether Russia interfered in the election? It’s been estimated his annual paycheck was approximately $161,900 — a salary determined by the Department of Justice‘s sliding pay scale, which is based on education and experience.
Compared to historic special investigations, namely the Kenneth Starr investigation of the Clinton administration in the ’90s and the investigation into the Reagan administration’s involvement with Iran-Contra in the late ’80s, Mueller’s investigation is, so far, one of the least costly. The Clinton investigations cost $79 million, while the Iran-Contra probe cost about $47 million.
After the Office of the Special Counsel released its third statement of expenditures, President Donald Trump tweeted about the investigation, claiming it cost more than $30 million. In a previous tweet, the president said the investigation cost more than $40 million. In other tweets, the president has called Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” and said it would prove “no collusion.”
Despite all the spending, it’s looking like the investigation might just pay for itself. Over its course, numerous individuals have been indicted, charged and subsequently found guilty of multiple of crimes — including former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was charged with tax and bank fraud, among other financial crimes.
Part of Manafort’s plea deal included the forfeiture of assets thought to be valued at between “$42 million and $46 million.”
Does that include his ostrich jacket? Sure it does. Some of Manafort’s assets seized as evidence included that $15,000 ostrich coat, a $18,500 python jacket and a $9,500 ostrich vest.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.