U.S. Cori Bush (D-MO) speaks to a reporter outside the U.S. Capitol August 2, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
OAN Roy Francis
2:16 PM PT – Thursday, March 2, 2023
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is being asked by the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) to investigate campaign payments made by Representative Cori Bush to her husband.
A complaint sent from the FACT to the FEC’s general counsel, Lisa Stevenson, asked the commission to look into the $60,000 that were paid to Bush’s (D-Mo.) husband for security services.
FEC complaint was just filed against Cori Bush because she paid her husband Cortney Merritts over $60K to act as her private security while they dated.
Merritts has no private security license.
Bush funneled campaign funds for personal use — a clear campaign finance violation.
— Paul A. Szypula 🇺🇸 (@Bubblebathgirl) March 2, 2023
“Rep. Cori Bush and her campaign committee may have used campaign funds for personal use,” the complaint read.
Bush’s campaign had paid her recent husband, Cortney Merritts, the money for security purposes in 2022. Merritts, however, did not hold a private security license, therefore he was not eligible to perform such services in St. Louis. The Bush campaign had also paid $225,281 for PEACE security, and $50,000 for personal protection by an individual named Nathaniel Davis.
The complaint says that committees may only spend funds for “bona fide campaign or political purpose.” Payments outside of that category would fall within two prohibited groups which include “payments to family members” or “gifts.”
“We request the FEC investigate whether Rep. Bush converted campaign funds for personal use by paying a salary that was not for bona fide services at fair market value,” FACT said. “Ultimately, if one or more campaign laws are found to have been broken, we request the FEC hold the respondents accountable.”
Moreover, Bush’s office had confirmed that Bush and Merritts had been together since 2021, before bush had taken office, and had recently gotten married in a private ceremony. Therefore, the payments made to Merritts had taken place at least a year after they started their relationship.
Merritts had accepted the payments even though he has no private security license in the city of St. Louis or any part of Bush’s congressional district. He is also not listed on the Washington D.C. database of licensed security professionals.
While paying thousands of dollars for a security detail with PEACE Security and Davis, Bush’s campaign had been making the payments to Merritts. Bush’s recent husband had been receiving bi-weekly checks of $2,500, and he was also reimbursed $2,359.59 for travel related costs.
“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 are that the payments were for ‘bona fide services at a fair market value,’” FACT’s executive director, Kendra Arnold, told Fox News. “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.”