OAN’s Brooke Mallory
3:47 PM – Sunday, July 23, 2023
Missouri Democrat Representative Cori Bush’s campaign paid tens of thousands of dollars to her husband, Cortney Merritts, for private security and other expenditures during the first half of 2023, according to campaign filings acquired by the press.
The representative’s campaign, which missed the second quarter filing deadline and now might face additional fines, finally turned in her committee report on Saturday, a week late.
According to the latest filing, Merritts received $17,500 in security services and “wage expenses” between April and June.
These payments are in addition to the $12,500 he received for private protection services during the first quarter, bringing the total for the year to $30,000.
During this period, the “Squad” member additionally sent $62,000 to the St. Louis-based PEACE Security, which employs many “security operators” with military or law enforcement expertise, according to its website.
In the first half of the year, the campaign also paid Nathaniel Davis III around $27,500 for security services. Davis is a former black panther and controversial figure who claims to be “109 trillion years old and can summon tornadoes.” He is also known to express anti-Semitic sentiments.
Bush is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and has stated numerous times that extra protection is needed, claiming that she has had to endure prior assassination attempts.
Since 2019, Bush has spent over $500,000 on security fees in all, the majority of which has gone to PEACE Security.
Shortly after Bush and Merritts tied the knot in February, her office claimed that they had been dating before she was even elected to Congress in 2021, which is more than a year before she hired him to work on her campaign in January 2022.
Last year, her campaign also gave Merritts bi-monthly $2,500 checks totaling $60,000 while disbursing hundreds of thousands to the security business.
Meanwhile, he did not have a private security license as of late February, according to Fox News. Permission is required to undertake security responsibilities in St. Louis and nearby St. Louis County, which includes Bush’s entire congressional district.
This is also not the first time that Bush has been chastised by conservative networks for being hypocritical and utilizing private protection while expressing her discontent with law enforcement.
In July 2021, Fox News reported on Bush’s security payments while she was a vocal advocate of defunding the police, prompting CBS News to inquire about the funds and if it was ironic to employ a strong security detail while pushing to eliminate more police officials.
Bush was questioned in 2022 by then-CNN host Don Lemon if she would ever retract her “defund the police” stance.
“If you could do it again, would you still double down or use that slogan, ‘defund the police?’” Lemon asked. “Absolutely,” the Democrat responded. “…So suck it up, and defunding the police has to happen,” she added.
Bush reportedly became a major advocate for defunding police departments following the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
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