Wesley Bell, Democrat Primarying Cori Bush, Used To Work For A ‘MAGA Republican’ Political Campaign

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St. Louis County Prosecutor, Wesley Bell gives remarks during the Ferguson mayoral inauguration ceremony for Ella James at the Urban League Empowerment Center on June 17, 2020, in Ferguson, Missouri. | Source: Michael B. Thomas / Getty

Questions about the political allegiances of St. Louis County’s first Black district attorney have been renewed after the recent revelation that the Democrat previously worked for a Republican candidate.

Wesley Bell, who is primarying Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush, was already resented among activists for not prosecuting police officers involved in the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Now, HuffPost has outed him as having “managed the campaign of a conservative Republican running for the same seat Bell is seeking today,” seemingly compounding political matters for him.

From HuffPost:

The candidate, Mark J. Byrne, ran as a fierce abortion opponent and gun rights crusader. “I intend to protect the rights of the unborn,” his campaign website read. “I believe that there is no greater job for elected representatives.”

He ultimately lost to incumbent Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr., who remained in office until Bush successfully challenged him in 2020.

A spokesperson downplayed Bell’s role in Byrne’s campaign as being on a voluntary basis for “a longtime friend” despite the two having ideological differences.

“Wesley has been a progressive prosecutor, working to overturn wrongful convictions and refusing to prosecute women for abortions, and he will be a progressive member of Congress who works with President Biden,” Anjan Mukherjee told HuffPost.

Bell, 49, who was first elected as a councilmember in Ferguson on the heels of Brown’s police killing, took the oath of office in 2019 to become the first African American district attorney for St. Louis County. He replaced the so-called law-and-order prosecutor Bob McCulloch who oversaw the Brown case but declined to bring criminal charges.

Bell ran on a platform that included a promise to review Brown’s shooting. But more than a year after taking office, he announced that his office would also not be bringing any criminal charges in the notorious police shooting that sparked widespread racial justice protests and contributed to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The combination of Bell’s past work on behalf of a conservative Republican and his failure to bring justice for Brown’s shooting proved to be too much for Ferguson activist Tory Russell to ignore.

“Those of us who attempted to hold Ferguson PD accountable already knew who Wesley Bell was years ago,” Russell recently told NewsOne.

Russell blamed Bell for “stopping the protester-backed consent decree” that held accountable the city of Ferguson, its police department and government and “the countless police shootings he hasn’t prosecuted since becoming the prosecutor in St. Louis County,” including Brown’s.

“Seeing the pictures and the documents of [Bell] working with a MAGA Republican is just the icing on the cake,” Russell said.

Further adding to the scrutiny of Bell’s politics is the fact that he has accepted campaign cash from AIPAC. The pro-Israel lobby that’s politically aligned with conservative Republicans like Donald Trump has contributed to historic proportions this campaign season, including nearly $1 million on Bell, according to Bush, who suggested he has been politically compromised by the support.

“My opponent Wesley Bell is among AIPAC’s TOP 4 recipients this cycle—and is gladly taking money from anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-labor, pro-NRA Republicans who expect his loyalty in return above all else,” Bush, 47, wrote on Instagram earlier this month.

The Missouri Democratic primary is scheduled to be held on Aug. 6.


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