Cori Bush is shaping up to be most vulnerable ‘Squad’ member this election cycle

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Missouri Rep. Cori Bush faces an avalanche of problems with less than five months until her Democrat primary, positioning her as the most vulnerable congressional member of the progressive “Squad” this election cycle.

Bush and other lawmakers in the Squad have recently found themselves targeted by organizations such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which seeks to oust them from office over their contentious stances and statements against the Jewish state.

Bush, however, is in the worst position of the group. She faces a tough primary challenge from her Democrat opponent while dealing with a federal investigation into her campaign. Moreover, her campaign funds are running low heading into a pivotal time before her Aug. 6 primary.

CORI BUSH’S CAMPAIGN PAYS $17,500 MORE TO HER HUSBAND, BRINGING HIS TOTAL TO $120K, NEW FILINGS SHOW

Rep. Cori Bush, center, joins Maximus federal call center workers at a protest for higher wages outside the Department of Health and Human Services on Dec. 12, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Communications Workers of America)

Bush’s opponent, Wesley Bell, a progressive prosecuting attorney for St. Louis County who clashes with her in his stance on Israel, was shown to have a significant lead over the “Squad” member last month, the New York Post reported.

Bush is also confronting a Justice Department investigation into her campaign’s security payments, including to her husband, Cortney Merritts, who she married in February 2023. The couple had been an item before she entered Congress in 2021.

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Merritts has been paid $120,000 from Bush’s campaign since February 2022. Politicians are permitted to pay family members from their committees if they provide “bona fide” services at fair market value. Merritts acquired the checks as Bush’s committee spent far more on St. Louis-based companies for private details. In total, she’s poured more than $770,000 into private security services.

Merritts, meanwhile, took in the money as he did not have a private security license, Fox News Digital previously reported. He also did not appear in a Washington, D.C., database of licensed security professionals. 

Cori Bush and Rashida Tlaib demand cease-fire in Israel-Hamas war

Reps. Cori Bush, left, and Rashida Tlaib hold a banner in front of the U.S. Capitol, demanding a cease-fire and condemning the Israeli attacks on Gaza, on Nov. 8, 2023. (Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Watchdog groups subsequently filed at least two complaints over the matter. The initial complaint, filed to the Federal Election Commission in March 2023 by the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, is pending. The ethics committee has since cleared Bush in a second complaint from the Committee to Defeat the President.

“While the campaign can’t comment on the ongoing federal investigation, the Congresswoman is fully cooperating with the DOJ; her campaign’s security services are in accordance with all applicable laws and have never been paid for using federal taxpayer funds,” Bush’s campaign spokesperson told Fox News Digital in a statement. 

“The Office of Congressional Ethics unanimously cleared Congresswoman Bush back in September, and she fully expects to be cleared again when the DOJ concludes its investigation,” the spokesperson said.

The Justice Department opened its investigation into Bush’s campaign payments after the ethics committee had decided she did not violate rules.

ILHAN OMAR’S CAMPAIGN CASH TO CONSULTANTS DIPPED BY MILLIONS AFTER HALTING PAYMENTS TO HUSBAND’S FIRM

Cori Bush

Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., speaks to reporters after a House vote on Capitol Hill on Oct. 22, 2021. (Jabin Botsford/Washington Post via Getty Images)

Adding to her problems, Bush is also trailing Bell in fundraising. Her most recent filings show that her committee went into January with just $215,000. Conversely, Bell was shown to be better positioned and reported $408,000 in the bank.

Bell has also seen a fundraising swell since shifting from challenging Republican Sen. Josh Hawley to joining the Democrat primary against Bush. 

From the beginning of October through late December, Bell’s campaign raised $492,000 and edged out Bush’s cash haul. He added another $100,000 in early January, his campaign told the Riverfront Times.

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Federal filings also show that Bell has received the support of some big-name Democrat donors who give extensively to prop up politicians headed into elections, spelling more trouble for the Missouri lawmaker. 

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, who gave the maximum $6,600 to Bell’s campaign for the primary and general elections, is one such person who has backed her challenger.

Bush’s campaign did not comment on its low amounts of cash when reached by Fox News Digital.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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