Rep. Cori Bush Defends Husband's Hiring Amid DOJ Investigation Into Security Fund Misuse

Rep. Cori Bush Defends Husband's Hiring Amid DOJ Investigation Into Security Fund Misuse

Rep. Cori Bush defended her decision to hire her husband amid a Justice Department investigation into alleged misuse of government funds intended for her security.

Bush, a Democrat from Missouri, has allocated over $500,000 for her private security, despite advocating for the defund the police movement. Her husband, Cortney Merritts, received over $120,000 in payments since joining her campaign’s payroll in January 2022.

In an interview on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut” with Joy Reid, the host began by acknowledging the clearance of the matter by the independent Congressional Ethics Office. Reid then inquired about the subsequent DOJ investigation.

Bush explained that a complaint prompted multiple agencies to investigate, leading to the current situation. The conversation shifted towards Merritts.

Reid questioned the choice of Merritts as Bush’s personal security, noting his military background as a veteran. Bush justified the decision, citing difficulties in retaining reliable security staff and the affordability factor.

“We couldn’t pay the big cost for security like some of my colleagues are able to do, and so we went with what we could afford,” Bush said. “It worked out for a while, but then we started having call-offs, you know, people just not showing up to work, people sleeping on the job, and so it was very hard for me to have security when it was unreliable.”

Describing Merritts’ volunteer efforts, Bush explained, “He was volunteering a lot of his time, and then we had someone who was kind of leading the group, leading the team, who could no longer do it.”

She added that her husband, an air assault soldier in the 101st Airborne, was qualified for the position due to his prior security experience. Reid noted that he is “obviously somebody you trust.”

Bush emphasized her husband’s qualifications, stating, “He had already worked for other companies working security, even as a supervisor, so this was in his lane.”

Mediaite labeled the interview a “softball,” with Reid moving on after acknowledging Bush’s past threats. The campaign’s payroll initially categorized payments to Merritts as “security” before changing to “wage expenses” in April.

Despite the ongoing investigation, Bush reiterated her compliance with laws and House rules, denying the misuse of campaign funds for personal security services.


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