Politics

Progressive Upstart Cori Bush at Least One Year Late Disclosing Her Personal Finances as Required by Federal Law, House Records Show

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Cori Bush, the Justice Democrats-supported progressive activist that defeated 10-term Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr. in Tuesdays Democratic primary in Missouri, is at least a year late in disclosing her finances to the public as required by federal law, public records show.

Bush has yet to submit her personal financial disclosure to the House of Representatives for her 2020 campaign, according to the House Office of the Clerk, which maintains a database of financial disclosures of congressional candidates and members of Congress.

That hasnt stopped Bush from funneling over $25,000 from her campaign to her own pockets in the form of a salary with payments beginning in April, Federal Election Commission records show.

A candidates failure to file their financial disclosure form is “technically a violation of the Ethics in Government Act,” government affairs lobbyist Craig Holman of the liberal advocacy group Public Citizen told the Daily Caller News Foundation. However, the statute is “rarely enforced unless the violation is egregious and deliberate,” he added.

Candidates such as Bush that dont disclose their finances open themselves up to “political liability, more so than legal liability,” Holman said.

“[T]he secrecy and legal infraction provides an opponent with plenty of fodder to attack the candidate during the campaign,” Holman said.

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Missouri Democratic congressional candidate Cori Bush gestures as she completes her ballot at Gambrinus Hall in St Louis, Miss., on Aug. 4, 2020. (Michael Thomas/Getty Images)

Bushs victory over Clay in Missouris solidly Democratic 1st District on Tuesday means shes all but certain to become the first black woman to represent the state in Congress. Shes a staunch progressive who supports the Green New Deal, Medicare-for-All, and defunding the police.

Candidates running for a seat in the House are required to file a financial disclosure after they raise or spend more than $5,000 in their campaign, according to the House Committee on Ethics. Bush passed that threshold by the end of June 2019, according to a report (pdf) her campaign submitted to the FEC.

But the House Office of the Clerk contains no financial disclosure filings from Bush for her 2020 campaign.

Bush did submit a financial disclosure report (pdf) for her first run for Congress during the 2018 midterms in which she lost by nearly 20 points to Clay. But candidates for federal office must submit a financial disclosure for each election cycle they participate in and raise or spend more than $5,000, Holman told the DCNF.

Bush also began paying herself a salary from her campaign beginning April 3. Shes received a (pdf) total of $25,285 from her campaign, FEC records show.

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Missouri Democratic congressional candidate Cori Bush gives her victory speech at her campaign office in St. Louis, Miss., on Aug. 4, 2020. (Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

Candidates for federal office are allowed to pull a salary from their campaigns, but without access to an up-to-date financial disclosure from Bush, its unclear whether the amount shes paying herself is within the bounds set by the FEC.

Candidates such as Bush may only pay themselves a salary up to “what the candidate received as earned income in the previous year,” according to the FEC.

Of the seven candidates to defeat incumbent members of Congress in the 2020 elections so far, Bush is the only one that has not submitted a financial disclosure to the House Office of the Clerk.

Democratic congressional nominees Jamaal Bowman of New York (_

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