A House Democrat member of the far-left progressive “Squad,” Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), may soon find herself subject to an ethics probe and federal investigation, and both she and her new husband may also ultimately face criminal charges.
A recent investigative report indicates that Bush paid her new husband, Cortney Merritts, with campaign cash to work as a personal security guard — except Merritts is not licensed to legally perform such security services, the Western Journal reported.
Secret marriage leads to revelations
Local NBC affiliate KDSK in St. Louis, Missouri, reported last week that Rep. Bush secretly married Cortney Merritts, a U.S. Army veteran to who she’d allegedly been romantically linked since before she was first elected in 2020, earlier in February.
The outlet also revealed that, per campaign finance records, the Bush campaign had paid Merritts more than $62,000 in 2022 for security services rendered and cash reimbursements for travel.
Meanwhile, since 2020, the congresswoman’s campaign has spent more than $627,000 on private security for herself — which is notably ironic, given her staunch advocacy for defunding police and disarming citizens — with the bulk of that campaign cash going to a St. Louis-based private security firm known as PEACE LLC.
KDSK further reported that the campaign expenditures for security, particularly with regard to Merritt, could prompt investigations by both the House Ethics Committee and the Federal Election Commission, as the arrangement with Merritt could violate campaign finance law provisions that prohibit the use of campaign funds for personal use.
Not licensed as private security
Fox News reported that there could be a criminal liability at play for both Rep. Bush and her new husband, too, as it has been revealed that Merritt is not licensed in St. Louis — or Washington D.C. — to provide security services, as is required.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, in response to a records request from Fox News about Merritt, said there were “no responsive records” in his regard and that he was not currently licensed as a security service provider. In fact, the department further revealed that the “last security license issued to that individual expired in 2012.”
That is a problem because, according to the SLMPD‘s website on private security, it is clearly stated that “With the exception of St. Louis Police Officers, all persons performing a security function in the City of St. Louis must be licensed to do so through the Private Security Section.”
Unlicensed security services a criminal violation
Furthermore, in the “frequently asked questions” portion of that SLMPD webpage, there is a question that asks if security services can be provided on an expired license. The answer is an unequivocal “NO” in capital letters.
“NO. Working on an expired license or no license subjects you to arrest and booking. Companies or agencies that knowingly employ someone without a license subjects them to a fine and/or liability in a civil action,” the site states.
In other words, Merritt could face arrest and criminal charges for providing unlicensed private security services in St. Louis, while the Bush campaign could face fines and lawsuits for employing the unlicensed Merritt as a private security provider.
This doesn’t look good for Bush
Rep. Bush was already facing credible accusations of self-centered hypocrisy for spending so much on armed private security for herself while simultaneously advocating for police departments to be defunded and American citizens to be disarmed via strict gun control laws.
Now she is also facing credible allegations of violating campaign finance laws, House ethics regulations, and even the criminal code in her own home district, not to mention the nation’s capital of Washington D.C.