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Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) has spent more than $300,000 for private security over the past election cycle, campaign finance documents generated Monday show, despite her support for “defund the police.”
A list of itemized expenditures from Cori Bush for Congress on the Federal Election Commission website show that the progressive lawmaker spent $70,489 on “Security Services” — including $50,489 to Peace Security, $15,000 to Cortney Merritts, and $5,000 to Nathaniel Davis. The expenditures — which occurred during the first quarter of 2022 — add to the $233,663 that Bush spent on security services in 2021.
Bush has therefore spent $304,152 for security over the past election cycle, as Fox News observed.
Bush — a proponent of the “defund the police” movement — was pressed on her security expenditures last August during an interview with CBS News.
“You faced some criticism in recent weeks over your push to defund the police,” one of the anchors noted. “Campaign records show that you spent roughly $70,000 on private security, and some critics say that move is hypocritical. What’s your response to those critics?”
“I’m going to make sure I have security because I know I have had attempts on my life,” Bush replied after stating that she experiences death threats from white supremacists. “And I have too much work to do. There are too many people that need help right now for me to allow that. So if I end up spending $200,000, if I spend ten more dollars on it, you know what? I get to be here, to do the work. So suck it up. And defunding the police has to happen; we need to defund the police and put that money into social safety nets, because we’re trying to save lives.”
Bush supports “defund the police” despite pressure from other Democrats. Bush told Axios in February that she has had “colleagues walk up to me” and say “defund the police” does not help in their districts. The lawmaker did not name to whom she was referring.
“‘Defund the police’ is not the problem,” she added. “We dangled the carrot in front of people’s faces and said we can get it done and that Democrats deliver, when we haven’t totally delivered.”
Indeed, leading Democrats have pushed back against Bush and distanced themselves from “defund the police” — a movement that gained popularity following the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
“With all the respect in the world for Cori Bush, that is not the position of the Democratic Party,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said about the slogan earlier this year. “Community safety, to protect and defend in every way, is our oath of office. And I have sympathy, I’m — we’re all concerned about mistreatment of people and that’s why Karen Bass had the Justice in Policing Act, and we would hope to get some of that done.”
“Make no mistake, community safety is our responsibility,” Pelosi continued. “And I quote one of my colleagues from New York, Ritchie Torres, a brand new member of Congress, way on the left, saying that ‘Defund the Police is dead.’ That causes a concern with a few in our caucus, but public safety is our responsibility and I support what Karen Bass is doing and Mayor Adams of New York.”