As Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election rolls on, a new scandal is potentially brewing — astronomical investigation spending.
Republicans are eager to know Mueller’s spending habits and are reportedly ready to wage a political battle if need be to reign in the witch hunt.
Lawmakers haven’t yet seen the Russia investigator’s first spending report, which must go through a Justice Department review before being made public. But they’re already setting up a fight over how much the probe is costing taxpayers — and the fact that there’s no end in sight.
“For them to say to us, ‘Vote for an open-ended appropriation into a Mueller witch hunt,’ I think you’ll see significant objection there,” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told POLITICO.
Critics have only gained momentum as Mueller’s probe has advanced. King in a July interview called for legislation imposing both a deadline and budget constraints on Mueller; otherwise, the Republican congressman warned, Trump could face “a never-ending investigation that could go on for two presidential terms.”
In August, GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis sought to reign in Mueller’s spending by limiting the scope of the Special Counsel’s investigation to alleged Russian collusion with Trump officials during the election. DeSantis moved to pass a budget resolution which would have shut down the witch hunt six months into the probe. It failed to gain traction.
“Put up or shut up,” the GOP Rep. told “Fox & Friends,” in relation to Mueller’s probe.
Video credit: Fox News Insider
A little known fact, which could be the driving force behind the potentially imminent Mueller budget scandal, is he is not subject to day-to-day oversight.
POLITICO has more:
As a practical matter, Congress can’t go after Mueller’s day-to-day spending directly. His budget is being drawn out of a permanent Treasury Department account that is not subject to the annual appropriations process, and the DOJ regulations used to appoint Mueller state he “shall be provided all appropriate resources” to do his work.
Mueller is subject to some oversight. He had to produce a budget proposal to DOJ earlier this summer for the next fiscal year. And an internal DOJ audit office must review the first 4½ months of his spending receipts. Mueller isn’t under day-to-day DOJ supervision, but Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general overseeing the investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, does have final say on some of the major decisions related to the Mueller probe, including his budget.
“Whatever figure he comes up with, [Republicans] won’t like it too much,” admitted Rep. John Conyers to POLITICO (D-MI).
Former lead prosecutor Julie Myers Wood also warned Mueller will be in the hot seat if spending is out of control.
“If the inquiry starts to drag on, I would expect significant attacks on the cost, both in terms of direct cost to the taxpayer and also in terms of the cost of the time it is taking the executive branch to respond to his queries,” said Wood.
Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit Thursday against the Justice Department to gain access to the Special Counsel’s budget.
President of Judicial Watch Tom Fitton had this to say about the out of control cost and scope of the Mueller investigation:
“The Mueller special counsel investigation is growing with seemingly little concern about costs to the taxpayer. Is the Justice Department hiding basic budget information about the Mueller special counsel operation because taxpayers and Congress would be outraged by the costs? Mr. Mueller is not above the law and he shouldn’t be able to keep his budget secret. No one else in DC seems to be providing oversight of the Mueller juggernaut, so once again it is up to the citizens group Judicial Watch to go to court and demand accountability.”
More commentary from Tom Fitton via Judicial Watch YouTube:
As The Gateway Pundit previously reported, Special Counsel Robert Mueller added his 16th and 17th radical left-wing lawyers to his team in early August and mid September respectively as he continues to investigate Trump’s personal finances under the guise of a ‘Russia probe’.