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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Cori Bush Dismisses Federal Probe into Alleged Misuse of Funds as ‘Right-Wing’ Attack

(Headline USA“Squad” Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., wrote off the Biden Justice Department’s investigation into her alleged misuse of federal and campaign funds as a “right-wing” attack this week.

News broke on Tuesday that federal investigators were looking into whether Bush improperly spent campaign funds on security by hiring her now-husband, Cortney Merritts, whom she married in February 2023.

Bush added Merritts to her campaign’s payroll in January 2022 for his “security” services, but then changed the description of his salary to “wage expenses” in April 2022.

Bush claimed in a statement on Tuesday that the use of campaign funds was legitimate, arguing she was entitled to security services.

“Since before I was sworn into office, I have endured relentless threats to my physical safety and life, she claimed.

“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,” she added. “I have not used any federal tax dollars for personal security services.”

Bush claimed the investigation into her finances were the result of “right-wing organizations” lodging “baseless complaints against me, peddling notions that I have misused campaign funds to pay for personal security services.”

Those allegations are “simply not true,” Bush insisted, claiming that she had “complied with all applicable laws and House rules—and will continue to prioritize the rules that govern us as federal elected officials.”

Two Federal Election Commission complaints have been filed against Bush over the security payments she made to Merritts, both of which cited the fact that he does not have a license to perform security functions in Bush’s congressional district.

On Monday, a House clerk announced that House Sergeant at Arms William McFarland received a grand-jury subpoena for documents issued by the Justice Department and added that McFarland’s office would comply with that subpoena. Those documents were reportedly connected to Bush’s alleged misuse of campaign funds.

Although precedent has long held that lawmakers could continue to serve in their elected capacity up until the time of a criminal conviction, the recent move, led by House Democrats, to expel ex-Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., could signal trouble for Bush should the probe escalate further.

Santos likewise was accused of campaign-finance abuses and other financial crimes. He was indicted by the DOJ but has yet to face trial.

He was, nonetheless, ousted following a damning report by the House Ethics Committee, becoming the first Republican ever to be expeled from the chamber, and only the sixth House member in U.S. history to be voted out.

At least one other far-left Democrat lawmaker, Rep. Sheila Cherfilus–McCormick, D-Fla., is currently under investigation by House Ethics Committee for alleged campaign-finance fraud.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., has been indicted by the DOJ on several counts of bribery and related crimes but has thus far defied bipartisan calls to resign.

Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.

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