Just think what $168,000 could have done for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. She could have flown a few times to Wisconsin and Michigan, for instance, or possibly have paid for some Facebook memes. The possibilities are endless! Instead, as Fusion GPS disclosed in a statement today, Team Hillary paid almost the same amount of money that Russian trolls paid Facebook to Christopher Steele for the infamous “dossier” on Donald Trump — and then failed to make use of it:

A Washington research firm paid a former British spy’s company $168,000 for work on a dossier outlining Russian financial and personal links to Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, the U.S. firm said in a statement on Wednesday.

Although it was public knowledge that Fusion GPS paid for the work, the amount had not been disclosed. Fusion GPS hired former MI6 officer Christopher Steele to collect information about Trump and his advisers.

Fusion GPS’ statement said it had told Congress about how $168,000 was paid last year to Orbis Business Intelligence, Steele’s company.

The money paid to Orbis was taken from $1.02 million it received in fees and expenses from the Perkins Coie law firm, the statement said. The law firm represented the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, although initial research by Fusion into Trump and other Republican primary candidates was commissioned by a conservative website.

On a more serious note, the amount of money for one oppo research project raises all sorts of questions. As The Hill notes, everyone involved claims that no one knew what was happening at the time:

While none of the principals have denied that the Clinton campaign and DNC funded the dossier through payments to Perkins Coie, everyone involved is claiming they did not know about the project.

No one knew about a project that got funded at this level? Come on, man. No one drops $168,000 on a single project that loops in an ex-spook to dig up dirt from Russian sources on an opponent without some high-level signoffs. Right now, Democrats in Congress are arguing that the election got swayed by Russians spending between $100K-200K on Facebook memes, and are threatening social-media platforms for allowing it to happen. Are we to believe that social-media outlets like Facebook have more control over how money comes into their organizations than how it goes out of a major-party presidential campaign? No one knew? Puh-leeeeze.

Also, that kind of fee carries with it an implicit promise of success. That payment would have put a lot of pressure on Orbis and Steele to come up with dirt, no matter how well they could substantiate it. That might explain the more outrageous and easily debunked rumors Steele included within the dossier. Put it this way: Hillary paid $168,000 to a firm that never apparently considered the possibility that more than one Michael Cohen might exist. Heckuva job, Steeley.

For her part, Hillary’s still defending the project … after waiting months to acknowledge her campaign’s role in it. However, she’s still not quite admitting to the dossier as an entirely Team Hillary project, choosing to tell Trevor Noah that the dossier was “research started by a Republican donor,” which is a flat-out lie. Fusion GPS got hired by the Washington Free Beacon, but they never had anything to do with Steele or the dossier. Despite being untruthful about her own culpability in courting Russian intel sources, Hillary insists that Trump “had to know that people were making outreach to Russians … in order to sow this divisiveness.” She ought to know, having paid $168,000 to do so.