The federal government has made it clear it is going to hide the expenses incurred by FBI special counsel Robert Mueller, but Washington watchdog Judicial Watch isn’t giving up.
It now is seeking, in court, the records revealing the costs incurred by the special security detail for Mueller.
The organization said Thursday it has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Justice for those records.
They include records “reflecting expenses incurred by, and disbursements of funds for, the security detail for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.”
Also, all logs maintained by those special officers.
Citing reports that Mueller’s work already has cost taxpayers $25 million, Judicial Watch said it is trying to promote transparency, accountability, and integrity in government.
It had submitted a FOIA request earlier, for those records, and the FBI confirmed it got the request, but denied it. The agency has neither produced the records nor demonstrated that they are exempt from being released, Judicial Watch charges.
It was last winter that the Department of Justice confirmed it was concealing the proposed budget for Mueller’s work.
The federal DOJ said those records “should be withheld in full because it is protected from disclosure under the FOIA.”
Explained Judicial Watch, “The Justice Department asserts the Mueller budget information cannot be released because its release could interfere with ‘law enforcement proceedings’ and the material is protected from disclosure by the ‘deliberative process privilege.'”
Partial records that had been obtained earlier revealed Mueller was spending taxpayer dollars at the rate of nearly a million dollars a month.
Judicial Watch is pursuing numerous additional FOIA lawsuits related to the surveillance, unmasking, and illegal leaking targeting President Trump and his associates during the FBI’s investigation of potential Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, the watchdog group said.
“Special Counsel Mueller’s operation is not above the law. The American people have a right to know how much taxpayer money is planned for his massive investigation,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton as the dispute developed.
“No one else in D.C. seems to be providing oversight of the Mueller operation, so once again it is up to the citizen’s group Judicial Watch to fight for accountability.”
Judicial Watch noted the DOJ was eventually forced to reveal details of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s decision to give broad authority to Mueller.
Fitton said Thursday, “The Justice Department, the FBI, and Special Counsel Mueller continue to operate as if they are above the law. The American people have a right to know how much taxpayer money is being thrown at Mueller’s massive investigation. Judicial Watch has never before seen this level of secrecy surrounding the operation of a special or independent counsel.”