In addition to bringing indictments against nearly 40 individuals linked to the 2016 Donald Trump campaign or the Russian government as part of his investigation, as Vox.com compiled, Robert Mueller has also turned a financial profit for United States taxpayers from his ongoing probe. In fact, Mueller’s probe has at least potentially recovered almost twice as much cash as it has spent, according to a new analysis.
According to the analysis by the financial magazine Fortune, while the special counsel’s investigation over its first 16 months spent approximately $25 million, Mueller’s investigators will recover roughly $48 million in unpaid taxes and other assets from the tax fraud they have exposed.
In plea deals with Trump’s 2016 campaign manager Paul Manafort and his former lawyer Michael Cohen, prosecutors extracted agreements from the two to pay the government back taxes they owed from fraud schemes to which they have now pleaded guilty. Manafort alone agreed to hand over cash and real estate worth up to $46 million, according to a CNBC report.
Cohen also admitted in court that he cheated on his taxes and has agreed to fork over $2 million in unpaid taxes, fines, and restitution, according to Fortune.
Trump has often griped about the cost of the Russia probe, claiming on his Twitter account in June that Mueller’s investigation “has now cost our government over $17 million, and going up fast.”
Last week, the Special Counsel’s Office released its latest expenditure report which showed that in the six months between April 1 and September 30 of this year, Mueller’s office spent about $4.5 million — more than half of that going to paying employee salaries and benefits. The report also showed slightly more than $500,000 in travel and transportation costs for personnel and another $779 for “transportation of things.”
By contrast, during a six-month period in 1998, the office of independent counsel Kenneth Starr spent $6.2 million investigating President Bill Clinton’s sexual encounters with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, according to a CNN report.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator, $6.2 million in 1998 is equivalent to more than $9.5 million in 2018, meaning that in real dollars, Starr’s investigation into the Clinton-Lewinsky sex scandal cost more than twice what Mueller is spending on the investigation into a possible conspiracy to rig a presidential election through collusion with a foreign government. The investigations into Clinton cost a total of $80 million, CNN reported, which would be more than $120 million in 2018 dollars.