Rep. Bobby Rush Paid Family Over $100K From Campaign Funds in 2016

Wellness center associated with church Rush founded also received more than $2 million in government grants last year

Bobby Rush
Bobby Rush / AP
January 6, 2017

Rep. Bobby Rush (D., Ill.) made payments to four family members that combined to more than $100,000 during the 2016 election cycle, campaign finance records show.

A wellness center associated with the church the congressman founded also received more than $2 million in government grants last year.

Rep. Rush, who was first elected to Congress in 1992, made $50,000 in payments to his wife, Carolyn, during the 2016 cycle for "consulting fees." This was not the first time Carolyn has received money from the campaign committee.

Since 2002, the year Carolyn first appeared on the committee's payroll, she has been the top recipient of expenditures from the campaign numerous times and has since collected more than $550,000 in payments from her husband's campaign.

Marlon Rush, Rep. Rush's brother, was paid $34,082 throughout the course of the 2016 campaign to act as his campaign manager. Rush, who defeated Barack Obama by more than 31 percent during a Democratic primary in Chicago's 1st congressional district in 2000, has faced no real challenge since being elected in the early 1990s. Rush defeated his Republican challenger by nearly 50 points in the 2016 election.

Cora J. Rush, Rep. Rush's mother, received 16 payments that totaled $21,827 throughout the course of the election. Jeffrey Rush, Rep. Rush's son who was previously convicted in 2011 for having sex with two female inmates while working as a state prison official and sentenced to six months in prison, received 3 payments totaling $13,655 during the 2016 cycle.

Large sums of petty cash were also handed out by the campaign.

On March 13, 2016, $2,000 in "petty cash" was given to Cora Rush for "purchase of Election Day supplies and payments to Election Day workers." Two days later, on March 15, Cora was given another $1,000 for "Election Day victory party expenses."

Cora received the cash from Sheila L. Jackson, the treasurer of the campaign committee. On March 15, $23,000 in cash was also taken out by Jackson to "pay Election Day workers."

The four members of Rush's family combined to take in $119,564. Throughout the entire 2016 cycle, Citizens for Rush was shown to make $570,743 in expenditures. The congressman's family on the payroll pocketed 21 percent of all the funds disbursed by the committee.

Rep. Rush also paid other members of his family from his previous campaigns.

Flynn Rush, the son of his brother, Marlon, pocketed hundreds for "polling" and "petition drives" during the 2008 cycle. Rep. Rush's sister, Judy, took in $800 for "political office receptionist" work that same cycle.

Rep. Rush has also kicked more than $200,000 over the course of several campaigns to the Beloved Community Christian Church in Chicago, a non-denominational church he founded in 2002.

Rush founded the nonprofit Beloved Community Family Services in 2004. Its mission to provide "compassionate services to promote cultural, economic and social well-being." The Beloved Community Family Services was given thousands by Rush from his campaign committee in recent years.

The social services arm of Rush's church, the Beloved Community Family Wellness Center, received a $305,000 earmark secured by Rush and tacked onto an appropriations bill in 2010, according to Legistorm.

Additionally, millions of dollars worth of taxpayer-funded government grants have gone to the wellness center.

The center, which first began receiving grants in 2008, was awarded five separate grants that totaled $2,789,540 from the Department of Health and Human Services in 2016.

From 2008 to 2016, the Beloved Community Family Wellness Center has been awarded $14,693,610 in grants.

Rush's communication's director did not return a request for comment on any of the payments.