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Cori Bush Facing FEC Complaint For Paying Unlicensed Security Guard She Married With Campaign Funds

Washington, DC – Anti-police U.S. Representative Cori Bush (D-Missouri) has become the focal point of a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint after records revealed she paid her now-husband more than $60,000 to be her personal security guard, despite the fact he was unlicensed.

Marriage records at the St. Louis Recorder of Deeds showed Bush, 46, and one of her security guards, Cortney Merritts, signed off on their marriage license on Feb. 11, KSDK reported.

Sources said they were wed in a private ceremony several days later, according to the news outlet.

Bush paid Merritts, a U.S. Army veteran, a total of $62,359 in 2022 for personal security services, campaign finance records showed.

Those payments were made after the couple was already in a relationship, which began prior to Bush taking office in 2021, KSDK reported.

Bush shelled out the paychecks to Merritts even though he did not have a required St. Louis private security license, FOX News reported.

A St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson said Merritt has not held a private security license since 2012, according to the news outlet.

The Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection in Washington, DC said Merritts also does not have a private security license there, FOX News reported.

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) filed the FEC complaint against Bush on March 2, alleging she “used campaign funds for personal use,” according to the New York Post.

FACT Executive Director Kendra Arnold noted in the complaint that “Rep. 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.”

“If so, these payments would qualify as either impermissible payments to a family member or an impermissible gift,” Arnold continued. “Therefore, 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.”

The nonpartisan group urged the FEC to take action if it is determined any law violations occurred, the New York Post reported.

“Ultimately, if one or more campaign laws are found to have been broken, we request the FEC hold the respondents accountable,” the complaint read.

U.S. House ethics rules and federal election laws prohibit campaign funds being used for personal gain, KSDK reported.

The FEC has permitted some Congress members to pay their family members for performing a “bona fide service,” providing those payments “reflect the fair market value” of those services, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

According to FEC filings, the staunch Defund the Police advocate has doled out a whopping $627,088 for security-related expenses since August of 2020, KSDK reported.

She was widely criticized for being a hypocrite when the information about her security budget first went public in 2021.

But the controversial congresswoman told CBS News in an interview in August of 2022 that her decision to spend tens of thousands of dollars on private security for herself is why she is “here standing now.”

“They would rather I die?” Bush asked at the time. “You would rather me die? Is that what you want to see? You want to see me die? You know, because that could be the alternative.”

She said the people who are criticizing her are actually the ones to blame for her “need” for security.

“We’re talking about the same exact people who say horrible things about me – who lie to build up their base – and then because they lie about me, I receive death threats,” Bush declared.

Bush said she is far too important to take any risks when it comes to her personal safety.

“I have private security because my body is worth being on this planet right now! I have private security because they, the white supremacist racist narrative that they drive into this country, the fact that they don’t care that this black woman that has put her life on the line, they can’t match my energy, first of all,” she rambled, waving her arms wildly.

Bush said she is going to make sure she is protected no matter what.

“I’m gonna make sure I have security because I know I have had attempts on my life,” she claimed. “I have too much work to do. There are too many people that need help right now for me to allow that. So, if I end up spending $200,000, if I end up spending 10, 10, 10 more dollars on it – you know what? I get to be here to do the work. So, suck it up!”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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