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Rep. Cori Bush confirms DOJ probe into campaign spending

Missouri Democrat says there are baseless complaints about her campaign paying her husband to provide security services

Missouri Democratic Rep. Cori Bush says, in addition to the DOJ inquiry, the Federal Election Commission and the House Ethics Committee are also investigating her.
Missouri Democratic Rep. Cori Bush says, in addition to the DOJ inquiry, the Federal Election Commission and the House Ethics Committee are also investigating her. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Cori Bush confirmed Tuesday that the Justice Department is investigating allegations about her campaign’s hiring of her husband to provide security services, in a news release that also defended the spending.

The Missouri Democrat released the statement after news reports that her campaign was the subject of a grand jury subpoena for documents sent to the House Sergeant-at-Arms office, which reported the receipt of the subpoena per House rules.

“First and foremost, I hold myself, my campaign, and my position to the highest levels of integrity,” Bush said in a news release. “I also believe in transparency which is why I can confirm that the Department of Justice is reviewing my campaign’s spending on security services.

“We are fully cooperating in this investigation, and I would like to take this opportunity to outline the facts and the truth,” Bush said.

Bush said she has “complied with all applicable laws and House rules” but that “right-wing organizations have lodged baseless complaints” against her “peddling notions that I have misused campaign funds to pay for personal security services.”

She said those have focused on the role of her husband, Cortney Merritts, and how she employed him to work on her security team. She said she hired him because he possesses “extensive experience in this area, and is able to provide the necessary services at or below a fair market rate.”

Bush said, in addition to the DOJ inquiry, the Federal Election Commission and the House Ethics Committee are investigating her. And she said that last year the Office of Congressional Ethics spent months investigating the arrangement and ultimately dismissed the matter.

“I look forward to this same outcome from all pending investigations,” Bush said in the news release.

Since 2019, her campaign committee, Cori Bush for Congress, paid $75,000 to Merritts for security services, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Bush, who has encountered a high volume of threats since running for office in 2020, said she has used campaign money “as permissible to retain security services.”

The Federal Election Commission allows for members to pay for home security enhancements.

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