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Rep. Cori Bush under investigation by Justice Department over security spending

Washington — The Justice Department is investigating Democratic Rep. Cori Bush over the potential misuse of funds for her personal security services, the Missouri Democrat confirmed Tuesday.

In a lengthy statement issued after news of the federal probe emerged, Bush said she and her team are "fully cooperating in this investigation."

"First and foremost, I hold myself, my campaign, and my position to the highest levels of integrity. I also believe in transparency which is why I can confirm that the Department of Justice is reviewing my campaign's spending on security services," Bush said.

The House sergeant at arms recently received a subpoena from the Justice Department seeking records related to Bush's use of security funds, two sources familiar with the matter told CBS News.

The existence of the federal investigation was first reported by Punchbowl News. The Justice Department declined to comment. 

Bush joined Congress in 2021 after working as an activist, nurse and pastor. She is a member of the small but influential group of House progressives known as "the squad."

In her statement, Bush said she has faced "relentless threats to my physical safety and life" since taking office. Since she does not receive taxpayer-funded personal security, she has used campaign funds "as permissible to retain security services." She wrote that she has "not used any federal tax dollars for personal security services."

She also acknowledged that she "retained my husband as part of my security team to provide security services," saying he "has had extensive experience in this area, and is able to provide the necessary services at or below a fair market rate."

Bush said her security spending is also being reviewed by the Federal Election Commission and House Ethics Committee. She noted that the Office of Congressional Ethics looked into the matter last year. The office, she said, "found no wrongdoing and voted unanimously to dismiss the case."

Bush, who has pushed the "defund the police" agenda, defended her spending on private security in an August 2021 interview with CBS News. CBS News correspondent and anchor Vladimir Duthiers asked Bush to respond to critics who say it's "hypocritical" that she spent $70,000 on private security while continuing to push for reforms to funding for police departments. 

"They would rather I die? You would rather me die? Is that what you want to see?" Bush responded at the time. "You want to see me die? You know, because that could be the alternative. So either I spent $70,000 on private security over the last few months, and I'm here standing now and able to speak, able to help save 11 million people from being evicted. Or – I could possibly have a death attempt on my life. And we're also talking about the same exact people who say horrible things about me, who lie to build up their base. And then because they lie about me, I receive death threats."

Ed O'Keefe, Nikole Killion and Robert Legare contributed reporting.

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