Rep. Cori Bush is placing blame on “right-wing” watchdogs after it was revealed Tuesday that the Justice Department has opened an investigation into her alleged misuse of government funds intended to pay for her security.
The probe relates to allegations of federal security money being spent improperly.
Bush notably has spent more than $500,000 on her own private security while publicly advocating for the defund the police movement.
Bush, a Democrat from St. Louis, Missouri, confirmed DOJ’s review of her campaign spending on security services and said her office is “fully cooperating” with the investigation.
“Since before I was sworn into office, I have endured relentless threats to my physical safety and life. As a rank-and-file member of Congress, I am not entitled to personal protection by the House, and instead have used campaign funds as permissible to retain security services,” Bush said in the Tuesday statement.
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“I have not used any federal tax dollars for personal security services,” she said.
Bush’s husband and former security guard, Cortney Merritts, whom she married in February 2023, has pocketed more $100,000 in payments since Bush added him to her campaign’s payroll in January 2022 for what they marked as “security” payments before switching their description to “wage expenses” in April, Fox News Digital previously reported.
Bush said that in recent months, “right-wing organizations have lodged baseless complaints against me, peddling notions that I have misused campaign funds to pay for personal security services.”
Those allegations she says are “simply not true” and she has “complied with all applicable laws and House rules – and will continue to prioritize the rules that govern us as federal elected officials.”
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“These frivolous complaints have resulted in a number of investigations, some of which are still ongoing. The Federal Election Commission and the House Committee on Ethics are currently reviewing the matter, as is the Department of Justice. We are fully cooperating in all of these pending investigations.”
In March 2023, Bush was hit with two FEC complaints over security payments she made to her new husband.
One complaint comes from the Committee to Defeat the President, an anti-Biden super PAC, which alleges Bush has “flouted” federal campaign finance laws by paying Merritts $60,000 for security in 2022. Merritts does not have a license to perform security functions in the congresswoman’s district.
Bush’s campaign also paid $225,281 to the St. Louis-based PEACE Security firm for personal protection throughout 2022. Bush and Merritts have been together since before she entered Congress in 2021, a press release from her office said.
The watchdog group, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), also filed a complaint asking the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to investigate whether Bush “used campaign funds for personal use,” citing the $60,000 payment in 2022 for security services provided to Merritts.
‘SQUAD’ REP. CORI BUSH FACES INCREASED PRESSURE OVER CAMPAIGN PAYMENTS TO HUSBAND FOR SECURITY SERVICES
On Monday, a House clerk announced that House Sergeant at Arms William McFarland relayed that his office received a grand jury subpoena for documents issued by the Justice Department and added that the sergeant of arms office would comply with that subpoena.
Bush said Tuesday that in September of last year, after conducting a months-long investigation, the Office of Congressional Ethics “found no wrongdoing and voted unanimously to dismiss the case.”
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“I look forward to this same outcome from all pending investigations,” she said.
“I am under no illusion that these right-wing organizations will stop politicizing and pursuing efforts to attack me and the work that the people of St. Louis sent me to Congress to do: to lead boldly, to legislate change my constituents can feel, and to save lives,” she added.