Watchdog Calls for FEC Investigation into Cori Bush for Allegedly Misusing Campaign Funds

FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2020, file photo, Activist Cori Bush speaks during a news conferenc
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File

A watchdog group filed a complaint on Thursday with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to request an investigation into Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) for allegedly using campaign funds for personal use — a possible violation of federal law.

The complaint from Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) says the watchdog believes Bush and her campaign “may have used campaign funds for personal use” after news reports have indicated that the congresswoman’s now-husband, Cortney Merritts, was paid $62,359 for security services.

However, the campaign was paying Merritts while the campaign was simultaneously paying PEACE Security $225,281 and a person named Nathaniel Davis $50,000 for “security services.”

Additionally, while providing the “services,” Merritts reportedly did not have a St. Louis private security license, which is needed to perform security services in the area that Bush’s entire district encompasses, in addition to not having been in the database of licensed security professionals in the Washington, D.C., area. The reports also showed that they had been in a personal relationship during the same time before they were quietly married in early February 2023.

The complaint explained that campaign funds are generally only spent for “bona fide campaign or political purposes,” with limited, defined exceptions. At the same time, federal law notes that campaign funds may not be spent on some categories, such as for “personal use,” which FACT says is the issue because they were in a relationship.

FACT also noted that candidates for federal office can not use the campaign’s funds for personal use, and “payments that are not for bonafide services at fair market value could fall under one of two prohibited categories—’payments to family members’ or ‘gifts.'”

Further, FACT’s complaint acknowledged that, since the two were in a relationship, “Bush’s campaign may have made payments for services that were unnecessary or above fair market value because of her personal relationship with the payee,” meaning the payments would either qualify as “impermissible payments to a family member or an impermissible gift.”

FACT Executive Director Kendra Arnold slammed Bush in the statement, stating:

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.’ 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.

While Bush has come under scrutiny for being married to a “security guard” that she paid with campaign funds, last year, she was at the center of controversy for even paying for private security despite her hardline Defund the Police stance. She attempted to defend her use of security during an interview with CBS.

“The thing about defund the police is we have to tell the entire narrative. People hear ‘defund the police.’ But you know what they’ll say? Say ‘reallocate,’ say ‘divest,’ say ‘move.’ But it’s still the same thing,” she said.

“We can’t get caught up on the words. People spend more time focusing on the word ‘defund’ than they spend on caring and addressing the problem of police in this country,” she added.

Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.


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