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Rep. Cori Bush is under investigation after hiring husband as security

Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., speaks at a press conference on the Israel-Hamas war outside of the Capitol late last year.
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Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., speaks at a press conference on the Israel-Hamas war outside of the Capitol late last year.

Updated January 30, 2024 at 5:16 PM ET

Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., confirmed Tuesday that the Department of Justice is investigating her campaign's spending on security services.

"Since before I was sworn into office, I have endured relentless threats to my physical safety and life," Bush said in remarks on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. "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."

Bush says she is fully cooperating. The Justice Department declined to comment.

The St. Louis Democrat says she retained her now-husband as part of her security team and claims he is able to provide services at or below-market rate.

Congressional ethics rules for members of the House of Representatives permit family members to be paid from campaign funds for "bona fide services" so long as payments do not exceed "fair market value."

In addition to the Justice Department investigation, Bush says the Federal Election Commission and the House Committee on Ethics are also reviewing the matter.

According to Bush, the Office of Congressional Ethics, staffed by career government employees, found no evidence of wrongdoing in an investigation last year and voted unanimously to dismiss the case.

The investigation first came to light on Monday, when the House clerk publicly informed lawmakers of a subpoena received by House Sergeant at Arms.

Security concerns are front of mind for many lawmakers after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. In 2023, the Capitol Police investigated more than 8,000 threats against lawmakers, up from roughly 5,200 in 2018.

Paul Pelosi, husband of former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was attacked in the couple's home in 2022, where he was beaten with a hammer and left unconscious in a pool of his own blood by a politically-motivated attacker.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eric McDaniel
Eric McDaniel edits the NPR Politics Podcast. He joined the program ahead of its 2019 relaunch as a daily podcast.
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