A MIL­LION-DOL­LAR SPE­CIAL IN­VES­TI­GA­TION?

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION -

It re­mains to be seen what White House crit­ics hope to get out of the spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion on the Rus­sia mat­ter. There’s some cost in­volved though.

“Spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tions and con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tions have been a stan­dard part of the po­lit­i­cal process for more than a cen­tury. In the 1870s, Ulysses S. Grant [and] the Whiskey Ring scan­dal; more re­cently, there has been Richard Nixon and Water­gate; Ron­ald Rea­gan and Iran-Con­tra; Bill Clin­ton and Mon­ica Lewin­sky; and Hil­lary Clin­ton and Beng­hazi,” writes El­iza Mills,a pro­ducer for Mar­ket­place, which pro­duces pro­gram­ming for 800 pub­lic ra­dio sta­tions na­tion­wide.

“In­ves­ti­ga­tions, whether they’re car­ried out by Congress, a spe­cial in­de­pen­dent coun­sel or a panel of judges, cost money,” she says, not­ing that the Clin­ton in­ves­ti­ga­tion came to about $79 mil­lion and the Iran-Con­tra probe cost about $47 mil­lion.

“Be­cause in­ves­ti­ga­tions don’t nec­es­sar­ily have dead­lines, the bills can rack up quickly. There’s no clear way to pre­dict how much money will be spent in ad­vance — typ­i­cally, the U.S. at­tor­ney gen­eral con­trols the purse strings for spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­ga­tions and sets the pa­ram­e­ters of the ju­ris­dic­tion, ap­points the in­ves­ti­ga­tor and even re­jects find­ings. Con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tions typ­i­cally don’t get spe­cial fund­ing from Congress; in­stead, they are al­ready part of the con­gres­sional bud­get. But they have a po­lit­i­cal and fi­nan­cial cost when other work has to be side­lined,” Ms. Mills says.

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