The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has been urged by an advocacy organization to look into payments made by Rep. Cori Bush to her spouse for personal security services during a campaign.
Illegal Payments Made
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) requested that the FEC investigate whether Rep. Cori Bush and the campaign team might have misappropriated campaign money for their own use in a petition.
This request was lodged to Lisa Stevenson, the FEC’s acting legal director, on Thursday.
Bush’s campaign paid Cortney Merritts, who is currently married to her, $60,000 in 2022 for security services, ignoring the fact he did not possess a personal security certification, which is required to offer these services in the St. Louis area.
Bush’s team also paid $225,281 to PEACE Security and $50,000 to a man named Nathaniel Davis for private security while Merritts was receiving the money.
According to FACT, expenditures that are not about certifiable services at a market price could go under one of two forbidden categories, namely sending money to relatives or using funds as gifts.
Committees are only allowed to use funds for legitimate political or campaign expenses.
Due to Rep. Bush’s personal connection to the payee, it seems her campaign may have paid amounts amount of money that exceed market value and were not needed. FACT stated this in the lawsuit.
If true, these contributions would be considered either an illegal gift or payment to a relative.
The FEC is investigating @CoriBush's payments to her lover for security services. The 'Squad Rep' paid the unlicensed security guard while lobbying to defund the police. Did she marry her guard to prevent him from having to testify against her?https://t.co/qFZxCSKxBu
— @amuse (@amuse) March 2, 2023
The FEC should look into whether Bush used campaign money to cover private expenses by paying for unrequired services at fair market value, as per FACT. FACT insists that the FEC pursue legal consequences if it is discovered that one or more laws have been violated.
Bush and Merritts recently got married in a secret ceremony, according to St. Louis’ KSDK on Sunday night. Bush announced their nuptials on Monday morning and explained they had been dating since before she was elected to Congress in 2021.
This means that Merrits was employed a year into the relationship.
Bush wants to deny her constituents professional police protection while she pays her husband, an unlicensed & apparently untrained private security to protect her.
'Squad' Rep. Cori Bush hit with FEC complaint over private security payments to husbandhttps://t.co/uaTE2b3RWV
— MCJ (@mcj0822) March 2, 2023
According to a statement from Fox News Digital published on Tuesday, Merritts received the funds from the Bush campaign while not holding a private security license for either the city of St. Louis or St. Louis County.
This encompasses the entirety of Bush’s congressional area.
Watchdog Organization Demands Justice
According to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department website, apart from the St. Louis police officers, all staff working in a security role in the City of St. Louis must be certified by the Private Security Division.
A similar security section in St. Louis County requires security officers to register as well. Merritts is also absent from a Washington, D.C. listing of certified security experts.
Bush’s team paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for private security with Davis and PEACE Security and also made payments amounting to $2,500 every two months. This totaled $60,000 in 2022.This article appeared in The Patriot Brief and has been published here with permission.