First on Fox: Rep. Cory Bush’s campaign has given his new husband, Courtney Merritts, tens of thousands of dollars in private security and other expenses during the first half of 2023, which have been reviewed on a Fox News digital show.
The Missouri Democrat’s campaign, which missed its second-quarter filing deadline and could face possible fines, finally submitted its committee report on Saturday, a week after Merritts pocketed $17,500 for security services and “wage expenses” between April and June, new filings show. The payments follow $12,500 that went to him during the first quarter for private security services, bringing his total for the year to $30,000.
During that time, the “squad” member also transferred $62,000 to St. Louis-based PEACE Security, which, despite his opposition, employs several “security operators” with military or law enforcement experience. The campaign also paid Nathaniel Davis, who claims to be 109 trillion years old and can command a $27,500 storm for security services during the first half of the year.
Cory Bush’s campaign has given more than half a million dollars to private security after calling on police to defend it
Bush has said he needs protection because of previous attempts on his life. Since 2019, it has cut more than half a million dollars in such spending, which has gone primarily to PEACE security.
Shortly after Bush and Merritt’s wedding in February, her office announced that they were together before entering Congress in 2021 – a year before he added her to his campaign payroll in January 2022. His campaign sent Merritts bimonthly $2,500 checks totaling $60,000 last year while distributing hundreds of thousands of endorsements to the firm.
Merritt, meanwhile, did not have a private security license as of late February, Fox News Digital reported. A local official said at the time that individuals must have permits to perform security duties in St. Louis and neighboring St. Louis County, which encompasses Bush’s entire congressional district.
The Merritts also did not appear in a database of Washington, D.C., licensed security experts, and the Bush campaign did not respond to several previous emails on the matter. The payments have subsequently triggered at least two FEC complaints from watchdog groups.
Even before adding Merritt to his payroll, Bush faced criticism for using private security. In July 2021, Fox News Digital first reported Bush’s security payments while pressuring the police to defund them, prompting CBS News to inquire about the cash and whether it was hypocritical to hire a security detail to push money away from law enforcement.
‘Squad’ Cory Bush files FEC complaint over private security payments to husband
“They would like me dead?” Bush asked. “You’d rather see me dead? Is that what you want to see? You want to see me die? You know, because that might be the alternative.”
The progressive lawmaker said she would make sure they were protected because she had tried to put her life in harm’s way and she had “a lot of work to do.”
He added, “So end it, and the police will have to defend.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar’s, D-Minn., husband, Tim Mynette, tweeted a photo of him and Merritt last summer celebrating Bush’s 40th birthday.
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Local St. Louis local KMOV4 later found that Bush had hired two sheriff’s deputies as part of his security. The discovery of their unsanctioned side gig led to their demise.
Bush’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on her husband’s payments.