Rep. Cori Bush is the subject of a Justice Department investigation concerning the misappropriation of federal security funds, the “Squad” member confirmed on Tuesday. The investigation was first reported by Punchbowl News.
Bush (D-Mo.) wrote in a statement that “the Department of Justice is reviewing my campaign’s spending on security services,” and that she and her office are “fully cooperating in this investigation.”
“Since before I was sworn into office, I have endured relentless threats to my physical
safety and life. As a rank-and-file member of Congress I am not entitled to personal
protection by the House, and instead have used campaign funds as permissible to retain security services,” added Bush, who has spent more on security than any other member of the House since Jan. 6. “I have not used any federal tax dollars for personal security services. Any reporting that I have used federal funds for personal security is simply false.”
Bush also accused “right-wing organizations” of peddling “notions that I have misused campaign funds to pay for personal security services” for her family’s personal gain.
Bush dismissed allegations that her campaign had improperly compensated her husband, Cortney Merritts, who provided security services to Bush. “In accordance with all applicable rules, I retained my husband as part of my security team to provide security services because he has had extensive experience in this area,” she wrote.
Cori Bush confirms she’s being investigated by DOJ. Denies wrongdoing. Says she is cooperating pic.twitter.com/wFVaBI9RoW
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 30, 2024
On Monday, the House Clerk informed the floor of the lower chamber that the office of the House Sergeant at Arms had been issued a grand jury subpoena by the Justice Department, and would be complying with the department’s request for documents. It was not made explicit at the time who or what the subpoena pertained to.
It’s not the first time Bush has been accused of misappropriating security funds. The Committee to Defeat the President, an anti-Biden PAC, has submitted two complaints against Bush: one to the Federal Election Commission, and another to the Office of Congressional Ethics. The group alleged that Bush’s campaign paid Merritts $60,000 in 2022, and that Merritts lacked appropriate security licensing to carry out his work. In September of last year, the Office of Congressional Ethics voted to dismiss the group’s complaint.
“I look forward to this same outcome from all pending investigations,” Bush wrote in her statement responding to the Justice Department investigation.
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