DOJ Criminal Probe of ‘Squad’ Congresswoman Cori Bush Echoes Prior FEC Investigation

2024-01-30 09:32:28

The Department of Justice’s criminal probe into Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) over allegations of misuse of private security funds is similar to a prior Federal Elections Commission investigation.

According to Punchbowl News, who first reported the story, the DOJ subpoenaed the House Sergeant at Arms for records relating to Bush’s misspending of taxpayer funds allocated to Congressmen for personal security.

Monday afternoon, the House clerk read on the floor of the chamber a message from the office of the Sergeant at Arms formally notifying the House chamber that the office had been served with a grand jury subpoena by the DOJ.

That notice did not name the subject of the investigation, but Bush has come under scrutiny for her spending on private security before.

Bush previously was investigated by the Federal Elections Commission for misusing campaign funds for private security.

Her campaign hired her now-husband, Cortney Merritts, in January 2022 for private security services despite his not holding the license required to conduct the job within the city of St. Louis, which contains the entirety of Bush’s congressional district.

In January 2022 when he was hired by Bush’s campaign, Merritts did not possess a private security license necessary to hold a private security job in St. Louis, where the entirety of Bush’s congressional district is housed. He did not receive his license until February 2023, the month the couple wed, after which she continued to pay him campaign funds.

United States Representatives Rashida Tlaib  Cori Bush hold a banner demanding a ceasefire and condemning the Israeli attacks on Gaza, in front of U.S. Capitol in United States on November 8, 2023. (Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Private security payments from Bush’s campaign to Merritts total tens of thousands of dollars.

Bush has spent well over half a million dollars out of her campaign funds for private security. However, those payments came from Bush’s campaign account, not taxpayer funds from her Congressional office.

In an unusual exchange Monday night, Bush reprimanded a Punchbowl reporter for asking her about the investigation because she had a toothache.

Bush has received increased scrutiny for the private security payments due to her leadership of the “Defund the Police” movement. She has dismissed those criticisms in harsh terms.

“So suck it up, and defunding the police has to happen,” Bush said to her detractors.

Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spearheaded calls after January 6 to provide taxpayer-funded security to Members of Congress. The Speaker also directed fencing and razor wire to be placed around the Capitol as well as additional law enforcement personnel which cost taxpayers millions.

The fencing and expensive heightened security presence remained for most of 2021 while the Speaker conducted her probe into the events of January 6, despite heavy criticisms from Republicans that the security was unnecessary and theatrical.

Bush was first elected to the House in 2020 after several unsuccessful runs for office, defeating a 10-term incumbent Democrat.

Her campaign held a reelection kickoff event Saturday in St. Louis, during which Bush called herself an “underdog.”

Bradley Jaye is a Capitol Hill Correspondent for Breitbart News. Follow him on X/Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.



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