U.S. Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) reportedly tied the knot in a private St. Louis ceremony with a former security guard named Cortney Merritts who received over $60,000 last year from her campaign in direct payments, possibly violating House ethics rules.
(Video Credit: FOX 2 St. Louis)
Local news outlet KSDK first reported on the radical Democrat’s marriage.
“Campaign funds are not to be used to enhance a Member’s lifestyle, or to pay a Member’s personal obligations,” House ethics rules state. “Members have wide discretion in determining what constitutes a bona fide campaign or political purpose to which campaign funds and resources may be devoted, but Members have no discretion whatsoever to convert campaign funds to personal use.”
Bush reportedly knew Merritts and was dating him before she was first elected to office in 2020. In August 2020, before officially taking office, she reportedly started to spend large amounts on security guards for her protection. So far, her campaign has spent $627,088 on security-related expenses. Merritts reportedly received $62,359 last year which could draw attention from the FEC and the Congressional Ethics Office. He is no longer part of Bush’s security detail. Merritts is a former Army veteran.
The leftist congresswoman has been a big proponent of the “defund the police” movement and has been heavily criticized for it. She forked over a lot of money for her own private security force which many see as hypocritical and elitist.
SCOOP: U.S. Rep. Cori Bush married one of her security guards in a private ceremony, according to marriage records filed in St. Louis. Her campaign paid him $62,359 for security services and gas reimbursements last year. First reported on @KSDKNews. https://t.co/r6nZxRsfcE
— Mark Maxwell (@MarkMaxwellTV) February 27, 2023
Bush’s campaign security expenses made national headlines two years ago when some local law enforcement officers lost their jobs while taking on side work for her.
The Associated Press reported at the time that two St. Louis sheriff’s deputies who worked secondary jobs providing security for Bush were fired from the sheriff’s office in 2021. But Sheriff Vernon Betts claimed that the deputies were fired for failing to get approval for their moonlighting jobs, not for whom they worked.
The Squad member clapped back at Fox News in 2022 when she was slammed for paying for private security from Agents for P.E.A.C.E. Security, LLC, claiming it was because she had received death threats.
“They would rather I die?” Bush asked CBS News in a 2021 interview. “You would rather me die? Is that what you want to see? You want to see me die? You know, because that could be the alternative.”
(Video Credit: CBS News)
According to KSDK, Merritt’s social media shows that he traveled with Bush on her trips to her first inauguration in January 2021, the Ed Sullivan Theater for her appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” and to Central America on a trip with a Congressional delegation.
Bush’s chief of staff, Abbas Alawieh, on Monday released a statement, saying, “With heartfelt congratulations, I am happy to confirm that Congresswoman Cori Bush married the love of her life, Cortney Merritts, this month. Mr. Merritts, a veteran of the U.S. Army and a security professional, has been Congresswoman Bush’s partner since before her Congressional tenure and is not employed by her Congressional office. Our team has come to know and appreciate Mr. Merritts as a loving and caring Congressional spouse.”
“Those who know the Congresswoman personally and have followed her inspiring story know that she is a survivor of multiple forms of violence, including intimate partner violence. That she has married someone who supports her in all that she does, including as Representative of the incredible people of St. Louis, is cause for great celebration. Our team hopes that everyone will join us in celebrating the Congresswoman during this joyous time while respecting her privacy as she and her husband begin this new chapter together,” the statement concluded.
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