'Squad' Member Cori Bush Spending Campaign Cash on Husband Amid DOJ Investigation

Cori Bush, Cortney Merritts (Twitter)
April 17, 2024

It seems not even a criminal investigation can stop Rep. Cori Bush (D., Mo.) from spending campaign cash on her husband.

Bush paid $15,000 to her husband, Cortney Merritts, during the first three months of 2024, a Federal Election Commission filing released Monday shows. Merritts is at the center of a Department of Justice investigation into Bush's spending on private security services: Her campaign has paid over $137,000 to Merritts for "security services," in regular $5,000 per month increments, starting in January 2022.

Those payments came under heightened scrutiny after news surfaced that Bush and Merritts secretly married in February 2023. After Bush's marriage became public, the "Squad" member started describing her payments to Merritts to the FEC as "wage expenses."

Bush's payments to her husband are just a small portion of the more than $750,000 that her campaign has spent on private security services since 2019. She has also paid $152,000 to her personal friend and anti-Semitic spiritual guru Nathaniel Davis III, a man who says Jews rule the world and claims he can read minds and summon tornados at will. Bush's campaign stopped paying Davis in June 2023 following a Washington Free Beacon report on the guru's supernatural abilities.

Bush, one of Congress's most adamant proponents of defunding the police, justified her private security budget due to the "relentless threats to [her] physical safety and life" that she has endured since assuming office in 2021.

"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," Bush said in a January statement announcing the Justice Department's investigation. "I have not used any federal tax dollars for personal security services. Any reporting that I have used federal funds for personal security is simply false."

Bush may regret spending so much of her campaign war chest on private security, as she faces a tough primary challenge from St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Wesley Bell, who has attacked Bush for her criticism of Israel in the aftermath of Hamas's Oct. 7 attack. Bush raised just $608,000 in the first three months of 2024, compared with Bell's $954,000, FEC filings show.

Polls show Bush trailing Bell by 22 points.

Bell also has a significant cash-on-hand advantage over Bush, with over $1.1 million at the end of March. Bush, meanwhile, ended the quarter with just $528,000 on hand.

Bush did not return a request for comment.