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DOJ Probe

The Justice Department is conducting a criminal probe into Cori Bush

Questions over Squad-aligned member’s handling of federal security funding

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) speaks during a March for Our Lives rally against gun violence on the National Mall June 11, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) over alleged issues surrounding her handling of federal security funding, Punchbowl News first reported on Tuesday.

The department has issued a subpoena to the House sergeant-at-arms requesting records related to Bush’s Members’ Representational Allowance, according to Punchbowl, citing six confidential sources.

Bush acknowledged the investigation in a subsequent statement. “I hold myself, my campaign, and my position to the highest levels of integrity. I also believe in transparency which is why I can confirm that the Department of Justice is reviewing my campaign’s spending on security services. We are fully cooperating in this investigation, and I would like to take this opportunity to outline the facts and the truth,” the congresswoman said.

Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (D-CA) declined to comment on the matter at a press conference on Tuesday, saying he did not know anything about the situation beyond what has been made public.

In addition to Bush’s legal troubles, the two-term Squad-aligned lawmaker is facing a serious political threat from Wesley Bell, a prominent St. Louis County prosecutor who played a leadership role in the aftermath of protests over the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown. 

Bell, who is running against Bush in the Democratic primary, announced raising nearly $500,000 in the final three months of 2023, a significant sum against a sitting lawmaker in a primary campaign. Bush has not announced her fourth-quarter fundraising figures, which are due Thursday night.

“A DOJ investigation into the potential misuse of public funds is a serious matter. As a prosecutor, I understand that Rep. Bush is entitled to due process. It is my hope that Rep. Bush will cooperate fully with the investigation and be transparent with the public in responding to the legitimate concerns they are likely to have,” Bell said in a statement.

“I entered this race because I believe the people of this district deserve a representative they can trust who will show up and get results for them. I feel more strongly about that than ever.”

Bush’s campaign has also drawn scrutiny for private security expenses, which have totaled more than $750,000 since she was elected in 2020.  

Last year, Fox News reported that Bush’s campaign had paid $60,000 for private security to Bush’s husband, Cortney Merritts, even as he did not have a private security license, which is required in St. Louis.

Her campaign has also paid more than $137,000 to an unlicensed private security guard, Nathaniel Davis, who has promoted antisemitic conspiracy theories and is reportedly a close friend of Bush.

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