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Congress spent $3.06 million on failed impeachment probe

According to a new report, Congress added $3 million to the legislative branch's already exorbitant $1.3 trillion annual budget for the failed impeachment of Donald Trump

Published: June 13, 2020 1:10pm

Updated: June 13, 2020 10:33pm

The Golden Horseshoe is a weekly designation from Just the News intended to highlight egregious examples of wasteful taxpayer spending by the government. The award is named for the horseshoe-shaped toilet seats for military airplanes that cost the Pentagon a whopping $640 each back in the 1980s.

This week, our award is going to the the United States Congress for spending $3.06 million in taxpayer dollars between September and December 2019 on the failed impeachment of President Trump. 

The recently released report entitled "Congressional Membership Has Its Privileges: Salaries, Pensions, Travel & Other Taxpayer-Funded Perks" breaks down some of the exorbitant annual costs of the nation's legislative branch. 

The oversight report, which is published annually under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, was initially sponsored by the late Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and then-Senator Barack Obama. 

According to this year's analysis, during the period between Sept. 24 2019, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared an impeachment inquiry, and Dec. 13, 2019, when the House Judiciary Committee sent two articles of impeachment to the Senate, the lower chamber ran up a bill to  taxpayers of over $3 million

That price tag included the salaries of more than 100 congressional staffers and employees who, for those four months, essentially worked full-time on the impeachment proceedings. It also factors in the hourly fees of the six attorneys who were hired as lawyers of record for witnesses who made appearances during hearings, and acted as impeachment counsel for the House Democratic impeachment managers throughout the trial.

The high cost of the impeachment effort is primarily due to the House's decision to use congressional staffers to investigate the president for potentially impeachable crimes. For reference, during the impeachment of President Clinton 1998, the majority of the fact-finding was done by Independent Counsel Ken Starr's staff. For President Nixon's impeachment inquiry, the bulk of the investigating was handled by special prosecutors Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski, in addition to a Senate select committee.

The $3 million tally is a conservative estimate, since it does not yet include the impeachment costs run up during the Senate trial in January and February. It also does not factor in overtime pay for Capitol Police, witness travel expenses, or supplies and materials required for the hearings and trial. 

The impeachment inquiry began just weeks after the release of the Mueller Report and conclusion of the two-and-a-half year Russia probe. Adding the impeachment spending to the $32 million spent on the Mueller investigation, the taxpayer has been billed a total of $35 million for the two investigations, neither of which resulted in bipartisan findings of presidential wrongdoing.

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