Special Counsel Robert Mueller may not need six more months to complete his investigation, but he already has the funding to keep going through the end of September 2019.
The operations and funding of Mueller’s office were not addressed in the budget requests for the next government fiscal year issued by the White House and Justice Department on Monday because Mueller’s office is financed by the U.S. Treasury under special regulations issued by the Justice Department, the officials said.
“The Special Counsel is funded by the Independent Counsel appropriation, a permanent indefinite appropriation established in the Department’s 1988 Appropriations Act,” a Justice Department spokesman said.
Justice Department documents show that Mueller’s office reported spending around $9 million during the fiscal year which ran from Oct. 1, 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018. No figures are available for the current fiscal year.
Ninety days before the beginning of a federal government fiscal year, which starts on Oct. 1, special counsels such as Mueller “shall report to the Attorney General the status of the investigation and provide a budget request for the following year,” according to the regulations.
Department officials said that under these regulations, a special counsel should request funding for the next fiscal year by the end of June. It is not known if Mueller is preparing such a request for fiscal year 2020.
The Russia investigation has cost about $25 million in total from the time Mueller was appointed in May 2017 to the end of September 2018, according to the most recently available spending figures. That includes money spent by other department components in support of the investigation.
The investigation may ultimately bring more money into the government’s coffers than Mueller spends, when the value of forfeited assets from those he’s charged is taken into account.
Trump Budget Includes Funding for Mueller If Probe Remains Open (Bloomberg Politics)