Cori Bush, one of the members of the so-called far-left “squad” of House Democrats, is the target of a Department of Justice criminal investigation, The Western Journal reported Tuesday.
Later the same day, the Missouri Democrat said in a statement to Axios that she was also facing investigations from the Federal Election Commission and House Ethics Committee, apparently over the same issue—alleged illegal spending by her campaign on security services.
“I can confirm that the Department of Justice is reviewing my campaign’s spending on security services,” Bush said in the statement.
She also said that she was “fully cooperating in this investigation” and that she had only “used campaign funds as permissible to retain security services.”
Bush also said that Cortney Merritts, the man she paid $62,000 to in 2022 for security services—and then married in February 2023—had “extensive experience” in personal security and “is able to provide the necessary services at or below a fair market rate.”
Bush claimed that, in addition to the House Ethics Committee, DOJ, and FEC, the Office of Congressional Ethics had already dismissed the case against her and that she expected the three investigations currently open to end in a similar fashion.
Punchbowl News founder Jake Sherman first broke the news in a post to X Tuesday morning.
“BREAKING NEWS: THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT is conducting a criminal probe into @CoriBush, according to six sources familiar with the investigation,” Sherman posted. “The Justice Department subpoenaed the House Sergeant at Arms for records relating to the misspending of federal security money.”
According to the U.K.’s Daily Mail, Bush has spent over $750,000 of government funds on security in less than two full terms, as in Congress.
Bush’s husband, Cortney Merritts, whom she married last year, worked as a security guard for her and was paid more than $60,000 of those funds while working for her re-election campaign in 2022, the New York Post reported last February.
“In addition to getting biweekly $2,500 checks from Cori Bush for Congress, Merritts was also reimbursed $2,359.59 for ‘gas and travel expenses’ by the campaign,” the Post reported.
Merritts, however, has not had a private security license since 2012, Fox News reported last year, despite that being a requirement of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
His LinkedIn profile, which does not appear to have been maintained in some time, says that he’s the owner of Vetted Movers and does not mention security services. The Facebook page for Vetted Movers has not been posted in over five years.
Moreover, Bush also paid $225,281.80 to PEACE Security for personal protection during the same period, as well as an additional $50,000 to Nathaniel Davis for security services, according to campaign records cited by Fox.
Axios noted that the multiple investigations could spell trouble for Bush in an election year, particularly given that she is facing a “well-funded primary challenge from local prosecutor Wesley Bell.”