Watchdog Group Calls For Investigation Into Cori Bush For Allegedly Misusing Campaign Funds

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James Lynch Contributor
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The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), an ethics watchdog group, is calling for an investigation into Democratic Missouri Rep. Cori Bush for allegedly misusing campaign funds on payments to her husband.

FACT filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) on Thursday, requesting the agency investigate and take proper enforcement action against Rep. Bush if necessary. The group’s complaint addresses private security payments the Bush campaign made to her husband, Cortney Merritts, for private security purposes.

Bush and Merritts married in February after a years-long personal relationship that began around the time she took office in Jan. 2021. (RELATED: Dem Rep Who Supported ‘Defund The Police’ Marries Private Security Guard)

Merritts does not have a private security license in St. Louis, where Bush’s congressional district is located, per the complaint. In 2022, Bush’s campaign paid him $62,359 while the two were in a personal relationship. Her campaign also paid $225,281 to PEACE Security and $50,000 to Nathanial Davis for private security services, the complaint read.

“Any time a member of Congress puts someone with a close personal relationship on the campaign payroll, increased scrutiny is necessary to ensure the legal standard has been met, which in this case is that the payments were for ‘bona fide services at a fair market value,’” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director at FACT.

“Both the fact that reportedly Bush’s husband isn’t licensed to provide security services for which he was paid, and that she was simultaneously paying large amounts to another company for the same services raise red flags that warrant an investigation by the FEC,” Arnold continued.

Bush is a progressive member of “the squad” and vocal advocate for “defund the police.” She rose to prominence as a Black Lives Matter activist involved with the Ferguson, Missouri riots in 2014. She previously defended paying for private security while supporting defunding the police by accusing opponents of wanting her to die.

The Cori Bush campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.