St. Louis, MO – Anti-police U.S. Representative Cori Bush (D-Missouri) secretly married one of her security guards earlier this month after doling out a fortune for personal security over the past several years while simultaneously demanding police be defunded.
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, KSDK reported.
Posts on Merritts’ social media showed he traveled with her on multiple occasions, including her first inauguration in January of 2021.
“With heartfelt congratulations, I am happy to confirm that Congresswoman Cori Bush married the love of her life, Cortney Merritts, this month,” Bush’s chief of staff, Abbas Alawieh, said in a statement on Monday, according to KSDK.
“Mr. Merritts, a veteran of the U.S. Army and a security professional, has been Congresswoman Bush’s partner since before her Congressional tenure and is not employed by her Congressional office,” Alawieh said. “Our team has come to know and appreciate Mr. Merritts as a loving and caring Congressional spouse.”
“Those who know the Congresswoman personally and have followed her inspiring story know that she is a survivor of multiple forms of violence, including intimate partner violence. That she has married someone who supports her in all that she does, including as Representative of the incredible people of St. Louis, is cause for great celebration,” Alawieh added. “Our team hopes that everyone will join us in celebrating the Congresswoman during this joyous time while respecting her privacy as she and her husband begin this new chapter together.”
U.S. House ethics rules and federal election laws prohibit campaign funds being used for personal gain, KSDK reported.
The Federal Election Commission 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.
It is unknown if the Congressional Ethics Office or the Federal Election Commission (FEC) have looked into Bush paying her apparent fiancé for his work as her personal security guard, KSDK reported.
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 that 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!”