Defund-the-police 'Squad' member may have broken campaign finance laws by paying husband for unlicensed services

Cori Bush by is licensed under
ST. LOUIS, MO – Law Enforcement Today recently covered a story detailing how Cori Bush and other members of the congressional “Squad” advocate for abolition and defunding of law enforcement, all the while paying millions for private security beyond what they are provided bu the U.S. Capitol Police.

As part of that coverage, we highlighted that Bush, a congresswoman from Missouri, paid campaign funds to her now-husband for providing security, in spite of the fact that he was not certified to render such services in the state of Missouri.

Now, it turns out that those payments may have constituted criminal activity.

It has been widely reported that Bush paid her husband, Cortney Merritts, for security service. According to Fox News, while Bush failed to meet the filing deadline, she finally submitted her budget report a week late. She will likely face fines over the delay filing.

The report showed that her campaign has continued to funnel money to Merritts, all for security related services and “wage expenses.”

Per Fox, "…Merritts pocketed $17,500 for security services and 'wage expenses' between April and June. These payments follow the $12,500 that went to him during the first quarter for private security services, bringing his total to $30,000 for the year.”

A search of the Missouri Professional Registration Database shows that Merritts still does not have a security license as of this writing. Yet he has been paid more than $90,000 to render such services.
All of this may be in violation of federal law and Federal Election Commission regulations.

“Federal law and FEC regulations strictly limit the use of federal campaign funds. Under 52 U.S.C. 30114 and FEC regulation 11 CFR 113.1 (g)(H), salary payments can be made to a member of a candidate’s family but only if the family member is providing bona fide services to the campaign at fair market value,” Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow Hans von Spakovsky told the Daily Caller.

“If these are not payments for actual services being provided, or if he is being paid more than the fair market value of his services, then Bush is violating federal campaign finance law. If she is doing it knowingly and intentionally, it goes from being a civil violation to a possible criminal violation.”

The Foundation for Accountability and Civil Trust (FACT) filed a complaint with the FEC back in March, requesting an investigation be started into whether Bush violated campaign finance laws.

Speaking to the Daily Caller, FACT Executive Director Kendra Arnold said, "Rep. Bush’s payments to her husband are the subject of FACT’s complaint before the OCE because numerous facts indicate her payments to him may not have been for bona fide services at a fair market value as required by law — she has a close personal relationship with him, the possibility that he was providing security services that were unnecessary and duplicative, and he didn’t have a license to provide those services.

"This re-characterization of the payments to her husband appears to be an attempt to hide information from the public, which is contrary to the law that requires a candidate to clearly describe the ‘purpose of disbursement.’ Especially in this case, the description of ‘wage expenses’ fails to provide adequate information to the public.”
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