This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., recently announced she had married her security guard, and an analysis by the Washington Examiner explains it’s just the latest ethics issue to beleaguer the “Squad,” Democrats recently voted into Congress who pursue extremist ideologies like climate change and such.
“The squad members have become left-wing celebrities, and it’s given them a level of protection,” charged Peter Flaherty, of the National Legal and Policy Center.
“There’s a huge double standard.”
The clique includes Bush, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and five other Democrats.
The analysis cited Bush’s relationship with Cortney Merritts, who was paid more than $62,000 by her campaign in the last year.
Kendra Arnold, of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, said it could become an issue if he was paid more than fair market value, since the Federal Election Commission then labels those payments as being for “personal use.”
Watchdogs also have raised questions about gifts Bush has taken, including “dresses, jewelry, and shoes, ” according to a Harper’s Bazaar report.
There are strict limits on what gifts members of Congress may accept, including a $50 maximum value.
Her spokeswoman, Julia Albertson, claimed in 2021 that Bush “has never solicited or accepted any gifts that do not strictly comply…”
Arnold, however, said the gifts “are happening.”
“It does need transparency,” she said.
The analysis explained Ocasio-Cortez, now under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, has been in the headlines for “accepting free tickets” to the Met Gala and borrowing jewelry, shoes, and a “custom ‘tax the rich’ gown.”
The National Legal and Policy Center, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, and American Accountability Foundation all filed complaints over the events.
Tom Jones, of AAF, told the Examiner, “The full House should seriously consider sanctioning her, but the first thing she should do is repay the gift … for so brazenly violating the housekeeping rules. This is basically a private dinner, where you can buttonhole AOC and go talk to her about whatever your pet issue is out of the sight of anyone else. You’re not supposed to be able to do that. So that’s problematic.”
The report noted Omar has created her own controversies by paying about $3 million to a company called E Street Group, which happens to be co-owned by her husband, Tim Mynett.
When Republicans started looking into the situation, her payments to that company plunged by $2 million.
She’s also been accused, in a complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics, of previously marrying her brother. However, documents have not been revealed confirming that.
She also is accused of failing to disclose a lucrative book deal in her annual financial disclosure.
The report noted the issues with Tlaib date to 2020 when the House Ethics Committee ordered her to pay a $10,800 fine for illegally using campaign money for personal purposes.