- The Washington Times - Friday, March 3, 2023

Rep. Cori Bush, Missouri Democrat, is facing accusations of violating federal campaign finance laws by paying her husband nearly $62,000 for security over the past year.

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust sent a letter to the Federal Election Commission on Thursday urging an investigation into the matter. The ethics group argues that payments warrant further scrutiny since Ms. Bush had a personal relationship with a vendor for her campaign.

“It appears Rep. Bush‘s campaign may have made payments for services that were unnecessary or above fair market value because of her personal relationship with the payee,” said Kendra Arnold, the group’s executive director. “If so, these payments would qualify as either impermissible payments to a family member or an impermissible gift.”

The complaint comes days after Ms. Bush, who was first elected to the House in 2020, announced her marriage to Cortney Merritts. FEC records show that Mr. Merrits was paid approximately $62,000 by Ms. Bush‘s congressional campaign for security over the past year.

Fox News reported that the payments occurred even though Mr. Merritts doesn’t have a security guard license in either Missouri or the District of Columbia.

Although House ethics rules prevent lawmakers from hiring family members, federal campaign finance laws make no such prohibition provided a “fair market value” is paid. The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust argues that since Mr. Merritts does not have a security guard license, that fair market value might not have been met.

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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