Newly released records reveal that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and her eight-member “squad” have spent more than $1.2 million in campaign funds on private security since taking office, despite their strongly anti-police stance.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) sits squarely in the lead of the spending spree, having shelled out more than $730,000 on private security, including $75,000 she disbursed to her own husband. Ocasio-Cortez sits in second, having spent over $272,000 on security, including upgrades to the security of her district offices.
Bush’s campaign spending on security does include her first bid for Congress in 2019 before she arrived in the House of Representatives in 2021. She’s paid $736,748 for security services.
One of the companies, however, was St. Louis-based Peace Security, a pro-gun, right-wing private security firm that was paid $380,947. The group has openly celebrated the overturn of certain anti-gun laws, including the handgun ban for people ages 18 to 20 that was overturned in 2021. Bush, however, has repeatedly condemned such actions and has made anti-Second Amendment measures a major factor of her campaign.
Additionally, Cortney Merritts, a military veteran and Bush’s husband as of February, was paid $75,000 to provide private security work for her. However, it was revealed that he didn’t have the license required to act as a private security guard. Bush was hit with a complaint from the Federal Election Commission in March over the incident.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Bush began paying Merritts less than two weeks before her unoccupied vehicle was shot at in St. Louis in January 2022.
Bush has previously said in a 2021 CBS interview that in spite of her many calls to defund the police she needs private security due to facing death threats.
Ocasio-Cortez is the second highest among squad members in campaign security spending, with $272,914.67 in costs since taking office in 2019. These include nearly $2,000 for security system installations at her Queens and Bronx district offices, more than $20,000 on “internet” or “digital” security, $4,263 for office security equipment and $521 for what she noted in FEC records as “security barriers.”
Next, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) ranked third, having spent $125,683 on security services since taking office in 2019. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) spent $64,763; Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) $20,480; Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) $7,872; and Greg Casar (D-TX) $1,570, while Summer Lee (D-PA) has yet to document security spending. Both Lee and Casar joined Congress in January.
It is worth noting that the “squad” also receives a taxpayer-funded security detail provided by the U.S. Capitol Police.
Of the $1.23 million in total spending, $1.15 million took place after the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, which led to nationwide riots and calls to defund police.
Zach Smith, a legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative group, called the security spending “incredibly hypocritical” considering squad members “have been at the forefront of the defund the police movement,” which he believes has spurred crime increases in their own districts and nationwide.
“Cori Bush, AOC, all the members of the squad — they and their families deserve to be safe and secure in their homes and communities — but so does everyone else,” said Smith, a co-author of “Rogue Prosecutors,” a book outlining how billionaire George Soros’ “progressive prosecutor” movement empowers criminals.
“Unfortunately while they get their own taxpayer-funded security detail … on top of what they’re paying for out of pocket” in campaign funds for security, “their constituents do not and must rely on police or their Second Amendment rights” to carry firearms “that the squad also opposes.”
Counsel to the National Legal and Policy Center Paul Kamenar agreed, saying, it’s “hypocritical” of the group to push “defund the Police” and “Black Lives Matters” mantras considering their spending habits.
“They’re spending all this money for their security but they are not worried about the security of their constituents,” he said.
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