Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the extent to which Russians influenced U.S. elections, particularly the presidential election of 2016. The work began when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein officially put Mueller in charge on May 17, 2017, and ended when he gave his report to the Justice Department yesterday.
The approximate cost of the work of Mueller and his staff likely will be about $30 million, based on documents released by the government late last year and an estimate of the costs of the final six months of the investigation. An exact figure will be released by the Justice Department shortly.
Mueller hired a staff of 14 highly trained investigators with backgrounds that ranged from Justice Department service to Mafia investigations to FBI service. One member, James L. Quarles III, had been a Watergate prosecutor in 1972 and 1973. Also, Mueller employed dozens of staff and kept offices in Southwest Washington. Security guards kept watch over the location.
Mueller not only had his own individual work. His office picked up some ongoing, related FBI investigations. His successful prosecutions included those of Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos. Mueller referred cases that included that of Trump advisor Roger Stone to other federal prosecutors. He also indicted 13 Russian citizens for tampering in the 2016 election.
According to CNBC, the investigation cost $25 million through the end of September of last year, based on reports to the Justice Department titled “Special Counsel’s Office Statement of Expenditures.” Analysts reached these figures by taking earlier reports that covered the period from the start of the work through the end of last March. They then added the latest report, which covered April 1, 2018, through September 30, 2018. The figure for that recent period was $4.6 million. At this rate, Mueller’s office would have spent another $5 million between the start of October 2018 until the release of the report yesterday. That would bring the total cost of the investigation to approximately $30 million. Newsweek made an estimate based on the same information and came up with an estimate for the entire investigation of $31 million and $35 million.
Some estimates show that, throughout the Mueller investigations, he seized between $42 million and $46 million of assets. If that is the case, oddly, the government made money on Mueller’s work.