by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Democratic members of the “Squad” in Congress continue to raise ethics concerns and red flags among watchdog groups, who have often urged government bodies to investigate their alleged misconduct.
The latest situation earning the ire of watchdogs is Rep. Cori Bush’s (D-MO) newly announced marriage to a security guard for her campaign, despite her husband, Cortney Merritts, reportedly not holding a St. Louis private security license. Bush’s marriage, which was quietly inked in January, is part of a string of alleged ethics issues for Squad members, which include the likes of Rep. Alexandria Occasion-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and five other Democrats, watchdogs say.
“The Squad members have become left-wing celebrities, and it’s given them a level of protection,” Peter Flaherty, CEO of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative watchdog, told the Washington Examiner. “There’s a huge double standard.”
Flaherty added: “The media goes easy on them. In the case of the Justice Department, even when it’s headed by Republicans, they don’t want to go after a Squad member because they’re afraid of the reaction.” …
… Ocasio-Cortez is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee, per a December 2022 government press release.
While it’s unclear what the committee is looking into, the congresswoman notably faced multiple ethics complaints in 2021 after appearing at the Met Gala. The National Legal and Policy Center, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, and American Accountability Foundation filed complaints to the Office of Congressional Ethics — which refers alleged misconduct to the House Ethics Committee.
The groups pointed out that the congresswoman may have violated House rules by accepting free tickets to the gala for herself and her ex-boyfriend, Riley Roberts, and by borrowing jewelry, shoes, and a custom “tax the rich” gown that she wore.