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Rep. Cori Bush under investigation for alleged misuse of security funds

By Mandy Donalds
|
January 31, 2024

The Justice Department is currently investigating Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01), a known figure within the progressive "Squad," for the potential misuse of federal funds designated for security purposes.

This inquiry, as told to Fox News by two sources familiar, focuses on the allocation of federal security funds that may have been improperly spent.

An announcement regarding a subpoena was presented on the House floor on Monday, and it pertains to the investigation involving Bush.

Cori Bush Response

In response to inquiries, Bush's office acknowledged the ongoing review by the Department of Justice into the campaign's expenditure on security services.

The congresswoman attributed the investigation to actions by "right-wing organizations," also mentioning parallel inquiries by the Federal Election Commission and the House Committee on Ethics.

She firmly stated, "I have not used any federal tax dollars for personal security services. Any reporting that I have used federal funds for personal security is simply false."

Watchdog's Concerns

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a watchdog group, has expressed support for the Justice Department's probe.

FACT had previously filed a complaint with the FEC in 2023 over Bush's repeated payments to a man who is now her husband, initially listed as "security" expenses.

FACT's executive director, Kendra Arnold, highlighted concerns over the nature of these payments, especially given the recipient's close personal relationship with Bush and his lack of a license to provide such services.

Arnold emphasized the importance of transparency and accountability in campaign expenditures, expressing hope for a thorough investigation to uncover the truth.

"The facts alone speak to the need for an investigation, citizens deserve the truth, and we are glad that several governmental bodies have found an investigation is merited and look forward to the outcomes," said Arnold.

Financial and Ethical Implications

The investigation into Bush's finances has revealed more than $500,000 spent on private security, at a time when she was voicing her support for defunding the police.

Reports indicate that Bush's husband and former security guard, Cortney Merritts, received over $100,000 in payments labeled as "security" before being reclassified as "wage expenses."

Additionally, Bush faced two FEC complaints in March 2023. One was from the Committee to Defeat the President, alleging violations of federal campaign finance laws for a $60,000 payment to Merritts for security services.

Bush's campaign allocated $225,281 to cover the costs of personal protection provided by the St. Louis-based PEACE Security firm throughout the year 2022.

A press release from her office stated that Bush and Merritts had been a couple since before her entry into Congress in 2021.

Another complaint by FACT called for an investigation into whether campaign funds were used for personal benefits, suggesting the payments to Merritts might not have been for bona fide services at fair market value.