NATIONAL NEWS

Justice Department investigating Democratic Rep. Cori Bush over alleged misuse of campaign funds

Jan 30, 2024, 11:19 AM

FILE - Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., speaks at a news conference to call for a ceasefire in Israel and Gaz...

FILE - Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., speaks at a news conference to call for a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza on Capitol Hill, Oct. 20, 2023, in Washington. The Justice Department is looking into allegations Bush misused government funds for her personal security. Bush said in a statement that federal prosecutors were reviewing her campaign's spending on security services a day after the Justice Department subpoenaed the House sergeant at arms for related documents. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is investigating whether Democratic Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri misused campaign funds for her personal security, the progressive lawmaker confirmed in a statement Tuesday.

Bush, a second-term lawmaker, denied any wrongdoing and said she is “fully cooperating” with federal prosecutors.

“As a rank-and-file member of Congress I am not entitled to personal protection by the House, and instead have used campaign funds as permissible to retain security services,” Bush said. “I have not used any federal tax dollars for personal security services.”

Her statement came a day after the Justice Department subpoenaed the office of the House Sergeant at Arms for related documents. The Justice Department declined to comment.

Since being elected to the House in 2021, Bush, a Black woman with activist roots, has been the target of right-wing attacks. As a result, she has spent a substantial amount of money on private security while she’s on Capitol Hill and back home in her district in St. Louis.

Federal prosecutors have been asking questions about Bush’s security expenses, the threats she received and her decision to pay her now-husband Cortney Merritts with campaign funds to provide security, a person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. The questions have been similar to those asked by congressional investigators conducting an ethics inquiry, the person said. The person was not authorized to publicly discuss details of the investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The issue of how Bush has been funding her security is currently under investigation by the Federal Election Commission and the House Committee on Ethics. The FEC has stated that it is not technically against the rules for a member of Congress to use campaign funds for private security as there has been a striking increase of violent threats against lawmakers in recent years. The Office of Congressional Ethics unanimously determined in October to clear Bush of any wrongdoing in their investigation.

“I look forward to this same outcome from all pending investigations,” Bush said Tuesday.

“I’m going to make sure I have security because I know I have had attempts on my life and I have too much work to do,” the former Black Lives Matter activist told CBS News in August 2021. “So, if I end up spending $200,000, if I spend … 10 more dollars on it, you know what? I get to be here to do the work.

A spokesperson for Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said that Bush is entitled to the presumption of innocence as the investigation moves forward.

“It is our expectation that the investigation will follow the facts, apply the law and be conducted in a professional manner,” Christie Stephenson said.

Punchbowl News first reported the news about the investigation into Bush.

___

Associated Press reporters Mike Balsamo and Kevin Freking contributed to this report.

National News

Janet Jarrett shows a photo of her sister, Pamela Jarrett, she keeps on her phone at the home they ...

Associated Press

Heat-related Texas deaths climb after Beryl left millions without power for days or longer

SPRING, Texas (AP) — As the temperature soared in the Houston-area home Janet Jarrett shared with her sister after losing electricity in Hurricane Beryl, she did everything she could to keep her 64-year-old sibling cool. But on their fourth day without power, she awoke to hear Pamela Jarrett, who used a wheelchair and relied on […]

6 hours ago

Melissa Shepard, left, directing attorney of Immigrant Defenders Law Center, explains the Biden adm...

Associated Press

Behind Biden’s asylum halt: Migrants must say if they fear deportation, not wait to be asked

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Posters inside a complex of giant, white tents tell migrants in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Hindi they should tell an officer if they fear being deported and “your claim will be heard.” On a side wall where migrants are seated in a processing area, a video conveys the same message on […]

7 hours ago

FILE - People walk past the Fiserv Forum ahead of the 2024 Republican National Convention, Thursday...

Associated Press

With GOP convention over, Milwaukee weighs the benefits of hosting political rivals

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Downtown Milwaukee turned red last week as thousands of Republican National Convention delegates and other party stalwarts gathered in Wisconsin’s largest Democratic stronghold to formally rally behind Donald Trump as their candidate for president in the pivotal swing state. Outside the security zone where the convention took place, residents grumbled, ignored or […]

7 hours ago

A second-floor balcony at the Hemingway Home & Museum in Key West, Florida, on Wednesday, July 17, ...

Associated Press

Ernest Hemingway fans celebrate the author’s 125th birthday in his beloved Key West

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Ernest Hemingway spent the 1930s in Key West, Florida, and more than six decades after his death, fans, scholars and relatives continue to congregate on the island city to celebrate the author’s award-winning novels and adventure-filled life. Hemingway Days started in 1981 with a short-story competition and a look-alike contest. […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Salt Lake City wildfire prompts mandatory evacuations as more than 100 firefighters fight blaze

Salt Lake City officials have ordered residents to evacuate some areas ahead of a wildfire as more than 100 firefighters work to contain the blaze. Helicopters and airplanes were dropping buckets over the flames Saturday as ground crews tried to contain the fire on Ensign Peak. The first fire crew was dispatched around 4:30 p.m. […]

8 hours ago

Democratic Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi speaks at the North Carolina Democratic Unity Dinner fundra...

Associated Press

Pelosi delivers speech to NC Democrats with notable absence — Biden’s future as nominee

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — In a state expected to help decide the presidency, House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi did little to quell speculation on President Joe Biden’s path forward as the Democratic nominee to a room full of North Carolina Democrats on Saturday. Pelosi addressed more than 900 people at the North Carolina Democratic Party […]

9 hours ago

Justice Department investigating Democratic Rep. Cori Bush over alleged misuse of campaign funds