Judicial Watch: Justice Department Refuses to Release Mueller’s Budget Proposal for Special Counsel Office
JANUARY 23, 2018
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced that Justice Department refuses to release the proposed budget of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel Office. Judicial Watch is seeking the information through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.
Judicial Watch sought “the copy of the budget prepared or submitted” by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But, on Friday, January 19, the Justice Department notified Judicial Watch that it refuses to turn over documents, stating: “seven pages were located that contain records responsive to your … request. We have determined that this material should be withheld in full because it is protected from disclosure under the FOIA.” 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.”
Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit against the DOJ on October 5, 2017, after it failed to respond to a July 10, 2017, request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-02079)). Judicial Watch is seeking:
- A copy of the budget prepared and submitted by Robert S. Mueller III or his staff….
- A copy of all guidance memoranda and communications by which the Justice Management Division will review the Special Counsel’s Office’s “Statement of Expenditures”…
- A copy of each document scoping, regulating, or governing the Special Counsel’s Office appointed under the leadership of Mueller III…
The Justice Department has thus far ignored Judicial Watch’s requests for documents about its management of the Mueller operation.
The Justice Department also sent Judicial Watch a copy of a previously published document showing expenditures by the Special Counsel’s Office from May 17, 2017, to September 30, 2017. The total was $3,213,695, nearly a million dollars per month.
On July 7, 2017, The Washington Post reported that Special counsel Mueller submitted a proposed budget to the Justice Department, “but officials declined to make the document public and committed only to releasing reports of the team’s expenditures every six months.”
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.
“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. “No one else in DC 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.”