Federal prosecutors made it clear Friday that they have a pile of Russian troll farm receipts. Like Eliot Ness going after Al Capone’s accountant, prosecutors in a new complaint named the Internet Research Agency’s top accountant, Elena Khusyaynova for her role as the bookkeeper for Russia’s social media meddlers in a case that appears to tie in with Russia Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation. While Khusyaynova is unlikely to ever see the inside of a U.S. courtroom, the complaint hints that the feds have a lot more granular information about how the Internet Research Agency works than they’ve previously far let on. So what does the money trail show?
Uncle Sam has receipts: In noting that Khusyaynova kept "detailed financial documents that tracked itemized Project Lakhta expenses" and "kept track of requests to Concord for funds to cover those expenses," prosecutors tipped their hand that they’re sitting on a mountain of evidence about how money, the lifeblood of any organization, moved around the IRA and the many activities it subsidized. Unless you’re willing to believe that IRA employees did work for free at times, the feds probably have a receipt for whatever work they’ve done under the umbrella of Project Lakhta. Lakhta, prosecutors wrote, was the IRA’s line item for activities to "spread distrust towards candidates for political office and political system in general."