AOC and the ‘Squad’ Spent a Million Bucks on WHAT?

( – U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and members of the congressional group informally known as the “squad” have spent over $1.2 million from campaign funds on private security since entering office, according to official records.

Leading the expenditure is Rep. Cori Bush (D-Missouri), who has reportedly spent over $730,000 on private security, including $75,000 directed to her husband. Additionally, Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has an expenditure of over $272,000, a portion of which was used for security upgrades at her district offices.

Bush’s campaign expenditures on security commenced before her 2021 induction into the House. In her 2019 campaign, she spent $736,748 on security. Notably, St. Louis-based Peace Security received $380,947, a firm known for its pro-Second Amendment stance. Furthermore, her campaign made a $75,000 payment to military veteran Cortney Merrits, her husband since February, for private security services. This led to a Federal Election Commission complaint in March, as he reportedly lacked the necessary license.

A 2022 report from the Washington Free Beacon noted that Bush started payments to Merrits shortly before an incident where her unattended vehicle was shot at in St. Louis. When contacted about the security expenditure in light of her “defund the police” stance, Bush cited a 2021 CBS interview where she mentioned receiving death threats as a reason for her private security needs.

Ocasio-Cortez ranks second in the “squad” for security spending since her 2019 entrance to office, with an expenditure totaling $272,914.67. Other members’ security expenditures are as follows: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) at $125,683.75, Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) with $64,763, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) at $20,480, Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) with $7,872, and Greg Casar (D-Texas) at $1,570. Summer Lee (D-Pa.) has not reported security spending.

All members of Congress, including the “squad,” receive a taxpayer-funded security detail from the U.S. Capitol Police. Most of the aforementioned private security expenditures occurred after the death of George Floyd in May 2020, which sparked nationwide protests and calls to “defund the police.”

Critics, including Zach Smith of the conservative Heritage Foundation and Paul Kamenar from the National Legal and Policy Center, have labeled the security spending by the “squad” as “hypocritical,” pointing out that while they advocate for defunding the police, they are increasing their own security measures.