Democratic Representative Cori Bush, a member of the “Squad,” is under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for potential misuse of federal spending related to private security. The DOJ announced a subpoena on the floor of Congress without specifying the target, leading to heightened scrutiny. The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a nonpartisan watchdog group, has called for the Federal Election Commission to investigate the $62,000 that Bush paid to her now-husband, Cortney Merritts, for security from her campaign account.
In response to previous inquiries about her security expenses, Bush defended the expenditure, emphasizing the need for enhanced security measures. The ethics complaint filed by FACT alleges that the payments made by Bush’s campaign might have been unnecessary or exceeded fair market value due to her personal relationship with Merritts. The complaint suggests that such payments could be considered impermissible payments to a family member or an impermissible gift, raising concerns about ethical standards.
Cori Bush married Cortney Merritts in February 2023, according to a press release from her office. Since her election in 2020, the congresswoman has allocated a significant portion of her funds—$756,000—toward security expenses, making it her largest expenditure. This has drawn attention and fueled ethical concerns regarding the substantial investment in personal security.
In addition to the ongoing investigation into her security spending, another ethics complaint has been filed against Bush by FACT. The complaint, submitted on January 23, alleges “misusing social media accounts” and involves several other Democratic representatives, including Nancy Pelosi, Jamaal Bowman, Sean Casten, Greg Casar, Maxwell Alejandro Frost, Ted Lieu, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Ritchie Torres. The complaints collectively underscore growing concerns about ethical conduct and financial decisions within the Democratic ranks.