The Lead

Missouri Rep. Cori Bush denies using tax dollars for personal security as DOJ investigates

By: - January 30, 2024 3:30 pm

U.S. Rep. Cori Bush, D-Missouri, speaks during a news conference to advocate for ending the Senate filibuster, outside the U.S. Capitol on April 22, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating how Missouri Democratic Rep. Cori Bush spends campaign funds, according to a statement the congresswoman released Tuesday.

“Since before I was sworn into office, I have endured relentless threats to my physical safety and life,” Bush said. “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.”

“I have not used any federal tax dollars for personal security services,” Bush added. “Any reporting that I have used federal funds for personal security is simply false.”

The Justice Department declined to comment.

Punchbowl News first reported the investigation Tuesday morning, less than a day after the U.S. House Clerk read a statement on the floor that the Justice Department had served the Sergeant at Arms with a grand jury subpoena for documents. The statement did not disclose the nature of the documents or the name of the member of Congress associated with them.

Punchbowl reported that several unnamed sources said the investigation related to how Bush used her Member Representation Allowance, an account that members of Congress use to pay for office expenses.

The funding for an MRA comes from taxpayer dollars and is approved annually in the Legislative Branch appropriations bill, whereas campaign spending comes from donations political supporters make to individual candidates.

Bush, who was sworn in as a member of Congress in 2021, represents Missouri’s 1st Congressional District, which currently includes St. Louis and most of northern St. Louis County.

Bush said in her written statement that she is “fully cooperating” with the Justice Department’s investigation as well as the Federal Election Commission and U.S. House Committee on Ethics, both of which are “reviewing the matter.”

The allegations stem from right-wing organizations, according to Bush.

“In particular, the nature of these allegations have been around my husband’s role on the campaign,” Bush said. “In accordance with all applicable rules, I retained my husband as part of my security team to provide security services because he has had extensive experience in this area, and is able to provide the necessary services at or below a fair market rate.”

Bush said the allegations made against her are “frivolous” and intended to distract her from her work in Congress.

“I am under no illusion that these right-wing organizations will stop politicizing and pursuing efforts to attack me and the work that the people of St. Louis sent me to Congress to do: to lead boldly, to legislate change my constituents can feel, and to save lives.”

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Jennifer Shutt
Jennifer Shutt

Jennifer covers the nation’s capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Her coverage areas include congressional policy, politics and legal challenges with a focus on health care, unemployment, housing and aid to families.

MORE FROM AUTHOR