- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 31, 2019

It’s bad enough we’ve got a highly partisan impeachment hunt being led by highly anti-Donald Trump partisans whose sole purpose in political life is to disrupt this White House and boot the president from office.

But how about those taxpayers?

How about the taxpayers footing this impeachment bill?

It’s a sad and sorry reality that while it’s certain taxpayers have been tapped for millions for impeachment-tied expenditures — it’s completely uncertain how many millions. Or tens of millions. Or hundreds of millions. In other words: It’s impossible to estimate just how much Jane and Joe Citizen have coughed up for impeachment so far.

Ask Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow for the think tank’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.



He’s tried.

In previous impeachment efforts, the figuring of expenses wasn’t so difficult, he said, because the investigations were conducted by special independent counsels who kept careful records — and who kept the investigations contained.

This one, however, is everywhere which in nature.

“Here,” Spakovsky said in an interview, “we have to look at the time spent by the staffers inside the various house committees that did the investigations.”

And my, what a tangled web that’s woven.

“We actually came up with an estimate based on staffers of those committees, staffers mentioned in various reports … and the costs of some of the lawyers the special counsels hired,” he said. “The minimum — and our estimate is based on a three-month period, starting with September 24, when Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi announced the beginning of the impeachment inquiry, up through December 13 … so the total amount spent on salary by the staffers involved was $3.06 million.”

That’s for three months.

That’s for staffers only.

“That amount does not include the cost of travel for witnesses, the cost of materials and other things, and it also doesn’t include the cost spent by private lawyers, for example, who were representing witnesses before the hearings,” Spakovsy said.

Then there was the Robert Mueller report.

“We know that over $30 million was spent by Bob Mueller in what turned out to be a totally wasted investigation,” Spakovsky said. “Two years of investigation, a huge amount of money spent … there was no such [Russia-Trump] collusion, that claim turned out to be totally wrong.”

Thirty million plus $3 million equals $33 million. So far.

Then there was the inspector general’s report.

“Add on top of that, remember what we just got — a IG report from the Department of Justice that is hundreds of pages long, and what was that investigation about? Looking at how the whole Russia collusion claim got started and basically concluding that investigation never should have happened, that the FBI lied to the FISA court when they tried to get warrants to spy on the Trump campaign … so the amount of money spent by the Department of Justice IG was also an enormous amount,” he said.

Correction: Amount of money spent by the taxpayers so the Department of Justice’s IG could produce this report was an enormous amount.

How much?

Take a guess. ‘Cause that’s all there is — guesses. And don’t forget to figure in the salaries of the Democratic and Republican members themselves — the $223,500 annual pay for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the $174,000 for most of the House and Senate members — and the time they spent on the job dealing with impeachment issues.

“If you were to take the percentage of their salaries based on the time they have spent on the impeachment process as opposed to all the other issues they’re supposed to deal with, that would be another number,” Spakovsky said.

And what number would that be? Forget the factual; forget the actual figures.

Go with beaucoup.

Or mucho-mucho. Bazillions or gazillions, even.

It’s imagination time. 

For going on three years now, the Democrats and hard left have been colluding to come up with a way to get Trump out of office. They’ve failed — but their failures have come at great taxpayer costs. How great of cost? Don’t know. Probably, we’ll never know.

And how fitting, when you think of it. An imaginary cost for an imaginary impeachable offense.

It’s just one more casualty of truth from this whole impeachment charade.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.

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