Updated Jan 30, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Cori Bush under DOJ, FEC and House Ethics investigation

Rep. Cori Bush

Rep. Cori Bush. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) said Tuesday she is facing investigations by the Justice Department, Federal Election Commission and House Ethics Committee into the alleged misuse of campaign funds for personal security.

Why it matters: In addition to the potential legal ramifications, Bush could face political fallout as moderates try to knock off left-wing lawmakers in Democratic primaries.

Driving the news: The House sergeant-at-arms' office set off a media firestorm on Monday when it notified the House that an unidentified member had received a DOJ subpoena.

  • "This is to notify you formally pursuant to rule 8 of the rules of the House of Representatives that the office of the sergeant-at-arms for the House of Representatives has been served with a grand jury subpoena for documents issued by the U.S. Department of Justice," the House clerk said.
  • The revelation that Bush is the target of the subpoena was first reported by Punchbowl News.

What she's saying: "I can confirm that the Department of Justice is reviewing my campaign's spending on security services," Bush said in a statement, adding that she is "fully cooperating in this investigation."

  • Bush denied that she has used official congressional funds to pay for security, saying she has "used campaign funds as permissible to retain security services."
  • She also refuted any wrongdoing around her use of campaign funds to retain her husband as part of her security team. She said he has "extensive experience in this area" and "is able to provide the necessary services at or below a fair market rate."

Between the lines: Bush said the investigation stems from "baseless" and "frivolous" complaints from right-wing organizations which "have resulted in a number of investigations, some of which are still ongoing."

  • She said the Federal Election Commission and House Ethics Committee are reviewing the matter, and that the Office of Congressional Ethics already voted unanimously to dismiss the case.
  • "I look forward to this same outcome from all pending investigations," Bush said.

The latest: Christie Stephenson, spokesperson for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), said in an emailed statement that Bush is "fully cooperating" with the DOJ's investigation.

  • "Like any other American, she is entitled to the presumption of innocence," Stephenson said.
  • "It is our expectation that the investigation will follow the facts, apply the law and be conducted in a professional manner."

Situational awareness: The DOJ did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and the FEC declined to comment.

  • "Due to a confidentiality provision in the statute, we are unable to provide information or comment on potential enforcement matters that could come before the Commission," FEC spokesperson Judith Ingram told Axios.

Our thought bubble: Federal investigations are bad news for lawmakers seeking reelection, and Bush is facing a well-funded primary challenge from local prosecutor Wesley Bell.

Editor's note: This story was updated to include a statement from Jeffries' spokesperson Christie Stephenson.

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