Washington • A spokesman for Robert Mueller said Tuesday that the special counsel’s office has asked the FBI to examine claims that women were offered money to say Mueller behaved inappropriately toward them decades ago.

The spokesman, Peter Carr, issued a statement saying that “when we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the special counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation.”

Carr’s statement comes as Jack Burkman, a conservative lobbyist, tweeted that Thursday he “will reveal the first of special counsel Robert Mueller’s sex assault victims. I applaud the courage and dignity and grace and strength of my client.”

Burkman gained notoriety when he promoted conspiracy theories regarding the still-unsolved killing in 2016 of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. Those theories have been disputed by law enforcement officials.

The FBI declined to comment.

The strange sequence of events began about two weeks ago, when an email account ostensibly belonging to a Florida woman began contacting reporters claiming that a mysterious individual had offered her money to say Mueller had behaved inappropriately when they worked together in the 1970s.

The person sending the emails would not speak on the phone but claimed she was offered tens of thousands of dollars to say negative things about the special counsel, who is investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election and allegations the Trump campaign conspired with those efforts.

The person who has been emailing reporters over the past two weeks had said she was told that Burkman was behind the effort to pay those who made allegations against Mueller.

“I think I’m the victim of a hoax,” Burkman said. “I don’t know who that person is and we certainly didn’t pay anyone to say anything.”