Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) married a man who was a security guard for his campaign, and his team paid him more than $60,000 in direct payments last year.
Bush, known for being a member of “The Squad,” married Cortney Merritts last weekend in a private ceremony in St. Louis, according to news channel KSDK. The campaign spending could raise questions from the Federal Election Commission and the Office of Congressional Ethics, as federal law and House ethics rules prohibit the use of campaign funds for personal use .
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“Campaign funds shall not be used to enhance a member’s lifestyle or to pay a member’s personal obligations,” the Chamber’s ethics rules say. “Members have broad discretion in determining what constitutes a bona fide campaign or political purpose to which campaign funds and resources may be devoted, but Members have no discretion to convert funds from the personal use campaign”.
Bush was first elected in 2020 and took office in early 2021. Since she began spending big on security guards in August 2020, her campaign has spent $627,088 on expenses related to security, by KSDK, of which $62,359 went to Merritts last year. .
Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., cries after it was announced that the Biden administration will enact a nationwide targeted eviction moratorium outside Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021. Over the past five For days, lawmakers and activists led by Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., have been sitting on the steps of Capitol Hill to protest the expiration of the eviction moratorium. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)
Bush has been criticized for her calls to “defund the police” and then seen as a hypocrite for taking this position while shelling out so much money for her own safety and security. She previously pushed back against comments against her high security spending in 2021 after Fox News noted the congresswoman was paying for private security. The security was because people had made death threats against her in the past, Bush said.
“Would you rather I die?” Bush asked CBS News in 2021. “Would you rather I die? Is that what you want to see? Do you want to see me die? You know, because that might be the alternative.”
The news media of St. Louis reported that Merritts’ social media posts show she traveled with Bush on his trips to his first inauguration in January 2021, to the Ed Sullivan Theater for his appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and to Central America on a trip with a congressional delegation.
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Other members of the “Squad” have also paid thousands of dollars for private security despite pressure to defund the police.