The husband of far-left “Squad” Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri was pressed late last week on the streets of Washington, D.C., over the thousands of dollars in cash he has received from his wife’s campaign.
Fox News Digital confronted Cortney Merritts, who appeared to backtrack about his role on the campaign after initially telling the videographer he doesn’t have a role in the campaign.
Merritts has pocketed $102,500 in payments since Bush added him to her campaign’s payroll in January 2022 for what they marked as “security” payments before switching their description to “wage expenses” in April, Fox News Digital reported.
Fox News Digital has contacted her campaign several times over the past two years regarding the security payments – first, regarding the security payments in general as she pushed to defund the police, then regarding the payments to Merritts – but Bush’s campaign did not respond to a single inquiry.
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As the couple left a fundraiser for California Democrat candidate Derek Marshall in D.C. Thursday night, Fox News Digital approached Merritts and questioned him over the money and his position with the campaign.
“I have a question for you,” the videographer said. “What’s your role on the campaign right now?”
“I don’t have a role in the campaign, man,” Merritts responded.
“You don’t have a role at all?” the videographer countered. “They were reporting you had wages on the campaign for security, and then it was a general wage. I was just wondering what you’ve been doing on the campaign?”
“Yeah, I mean you can Google what it is,” Merritts replied. “You can also Google what happened with the FEC report came back 5-0, that it was all completely above board.”
“So you’re not doing any more work with her campaign?” the videographer said.
“Am I doing work with the campaign?” Merrits said. “Obviously, I am. I’m still [inaudible], right?”
“You’re still a part of it?” the videographer asked.
“Am I still employed with it? Yes, so obviously, I’m going to work with it,” Merritts said. “What’s this whole ‘gotcha’ s—? I’m not a politician, man, so ask me a question man-to-man, and I’ll answer. So what’s your question?”
“That was it, about the campaign,” the videographer responded.
“I’m still in the campaign; I still do security with the campaign. Have a good night, man. Be safe,” Merritts said before getting into the car with Bush.
Merritts has accumulated six figures worth of combined payments as Bush’s campaign spent significant cash with St. Louis-based security companies. Politicians are permitted to pay family members from their campaigns as long as they provide “bona fide” services at fair market value.
After the couple married in February, her office disclosed they had been together more than a year before her committee began paying him in early 2022. The “Squad” member’s campaign has regularly wired Merritts bimonthly $2,500 checks while disbursing hundreds of thousands to other protection firms, mainly PEACE Security.
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Merritts, meanwhile, did not have a private security license as of late February, Fox News Digital reported. He also did not appear in a Washington, D.C., database of licensed security specialists.
The payments have subsequently triggered at least two complaints from conservative watchdog groups.
The ethics committee recently cleared Bush in a complaint from the Committee to Defeat the President, the St. Louis Dispatch reported. The second complaint, filed by the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, is still pending.
Bush’s campaign did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.