Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and other members of the progressive “Squad” spent thousands of dollars on private security despite calling on cities to defund police departments, Federal Election Commission filings show.
The group of progressive, Democratic congresswomen including Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Cori Bush of Missouri, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan have voiced their support for measures to reduce police spending and allocate those funds toward other community services in an effort to curb police violence.
Tlaib’s filings do not show any security-related spending, though the other four congresswomen have spent tens of thousands of dollars on different private security services.
“Defunding police means defunding police,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a June 30 statement — about a month after George Floyd’s death. “It does not mean budget tricks or funny math. It does not mean moving school police officers from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education’s budget so the exact same police remain in schools.”
The statement came in response to New York City’s proposed $1 billion police department budget cut, which the city aimed to use for education, social services and summer youth programming instead.
Just last week, Ocasio-Cortez said the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright happened not as an accident but because of “an indefensible system that grants impunity for state violence, rewards it [with] endlessly growing budgets at the cost of community investment, [and] targets those who question that order.”
Meanwhile, however, Ocasio-Cortez has paid $3,000 per month on a New York-based “security consultant” service since December, 2020, though she was spending $5,000 per month on the same security consultant beginning May 5, 2020, as The Daily Caller first reported.
Since the start of 2021, she has spent more than $25,000 on “security” costs dated Jan. 25; more than $1,500 on security detail for a February trip to Houston after a shocking winter storm devastated the area; nearly $4,000 on “security services” dated Jan. 19; and nearly $850 on “security services” dated Feb. 2.
The congresswoman did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News.
Pressley and Tlaib in July introduced the BREATHE Act to defund police departments, establish a reparations program for African Americans and people harmed by the police and the criminal justice system and eliminate federal programs and agencies used to finance Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The Massachusetts congresswoman said in a July video posted to Facebook Live announcing the legislation that she stands “ready to continue the systemic work necessary to radically reimagine a system of public safety in our country that finally censures the dignity and humanity of all.”
In a June tweet, Pressley said “the defund movement isn’t new” but that “folks are just finally listening.”
Pressley’s own safety system, however, cost nearly $4,200 in 2021, FEC filings show.
The congresswoman spent nearly $2,300 and about $250 on security services from Massachusetts-based firms in January and March; about $1,260 on security services from a Virginia-based firm in January; $675 on ADT security services in March; and $700 on security services from a Washington, D.C.-based firm in March.
She did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News.
Omar’s state and district have been rocked by both violent and peaceful protests in the year following the fatal, officer-involved shooting of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as the more recent officer-involved shooting death of Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb.
Omar in June said on CNN’s “State of the Union” said Minneapolis has to “rebuild” its police department, which described as “rotten to the root” and impossible to reform.
“What we are saying is the current infrastructure that exists as policing in our city should not exist anymore, and we can’t go about creating a different process with the same infrastructure in place,” she said at the time.
In November, the congresswoman appeared to defend the Minneapolis City Council’s proposal to transfer $8 million from the city’s police department to other community services.
“Don’t fall for the fear-driven narratives,” Omar tweeted at the time. “We can craft a justice system that prioritizes people’s basic needs like mental health [and] violence prevention, [and] allow the city to put public safety first.”
The Minnesota lawmaker, however, has spent upwards of $3,100 on security-related services so far in 2021. That includes a monthly payment of about $67 to a Minneapolis-based firm — as well as an additional $200 to the same firm on Jan. 29 — and $2,700 on “security services” from a different Minneapolis firm.
Omar did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News.
Bush, the newest member of the “Squad,” has previously taken issue with both police and Defense Department spending.
“Defunding the police isn’t radical, it’s real,” she tweeted in January.
On April 12, she noted that Minnesota invested $12 million in police training after “Philando Castile was murdered by police at a traffic stop in 2016.
“Where was that training when they killed Daunte Wright just 10 miles from where Derek Chauvin sits on trial for murdering George Floyd?” she tweeted. Two days later, she called on lawmakers to “remove police from traffic enforcement.”
But Bush has spent the most on security services so far this year compared to her other progressive colleagues. In 2021 alone, Bush spent more than $30,000 on “security services” from different companies.
Bush has spent $5,000 per month on services from a security consulting company based in California; more than $1,500 total on security from another Maryland-based firm in January; $5,000 on security from a Missouri-based firm in January; more than $7,700 on security from a New York-based firm in February; and more than $8,200 on services from a New-York based security company.
Bush did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News.
Calls to “defund” police departments or reduce state and citywide police budgets became popularized after Floyd’s death nearly a year ago, and the slogan has become commonplace among protesters, political pundits and progressive lawmakers on both the local and federal levels.
Fox News’ Sam Dorman, Morgan Phillips and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.