‘The potential for corruption in this situation is simply off the charts and can’t be understated…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) As chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., has been quite sanctimonious in his accusations of ethical scandals against President Donald Trump and his family business.
So it may come as a shock to some that Cummings and his own family are now under fire for their own shady financial dealings.
On Monday, the National Legal and Policy Center filed a complaint with the IRS against the nonprofit headed by Cummings’s wife, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings.
“Rep. Cummings is demanding President Trump’s tax returns and financial records,” said Tom Anderson, director of NLPC’s Government Integrity Project, who uncovered the violations. “It looks like he has some tax problems of his own.”
The complaint said that Rockeymoore Cummings—who also is currently head of the Maryland Democratic Party and a former gubernatorial candidate in the state—may have misused funds from a multi-million-dollar grant to fight childhood obesity through her nonprofit Center for Global Policy Solutions and directed them instead to the for-profit consulting firm, Global Policy Solutions, LLC.
The complaint says that the two entities blurred the lines with shared office space and telephone lines, in flagrant violation of tax laws.
Ironically, given Rep. Cummings’s own dogged threats of subpoenas against the current White House over tax documents, another complaint cited against his wife’s operation was the refusal to turn over an IRS 990 financial disclosure form.
“The potential for corruption in this situation is simply off the charts and can’t be understated,” Anderson told the Washington Examiner.
“We hope Chairman Cummings works with his wife to end the stonewalling and provide the public with what’s legally mandated all charities provide,” he said.
According to the Examiner, the complaint also suggests that the couple may have benefited personally from the operation.
Cummings, 68, married Rockeymoore Cummings, 48, in 2008, when he was facing heavy debt due to child-support payments to a former wife and to two other women, the article said.
The couple’s financial situation has since improved considerably over the past decade.
The Examiner reported that Rockeymoore Cummings draws a salary of more than $150,000 from the nonprofit and an additional undisclosed amount from the LLC.
The couple has two rental properties in Baltimore valued at $750,000 total, and had another recently-sold Washington, DC property valued at nearly $900,000.
Rockeymoore Cummings released a statement to Maryland Matters in which she denounced the accusations as a politically motivated attack intended to “intimidate my family into silence.”
She claimed the NLPC—which has also prominently uncovered ethical and financial scandals involving figures like Al Sharpton, former Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-NY; Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, D-NY—was part of a vast right-wing conspiracy.
“It appears a conservative front group and a news outlet funded by a Republican billionaire are pushing a hit piece filled with faulty research, lies and innuendo in an attempt to tarnish my personal reputation, professional work and public service as well as that of my spouse,” she said in the statement.
Of the more than $6.2 million in grant funding funneled through the Global Policy Solutions nonprofit, much of it came from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, established by one of Johnson & Johnson’s founders.
Although technically unaffiliated with the pharmaceutical corporation, the foundation owns 13 million shares of Johnson & Johnson stock, worth more than $1.7 billion, reported the Examiner.
Johnson & Johnson is regulated by the Oversight Committee, which maintains considerable power, including subpoena power, over healthcare and pharmaceutical issues.
Cummings currently heads the committee and previously served as ranking minority member.
“When a powerful chairman of a committee of the House of Representatives has a wife that is bringing in money from entities with interests before his Committee and she is not providing the transparency mandated by the IRS, there’s a serious problem,”
Between 2006 and 2017, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gave $5.5 million to Rockeymoore Cummings’s consulting firm and $5.2 million to her nonprofit, the latter of which was established in 2012.
However, Rockeymoore Cummings said her work with the foundation was in no way connected to her husband’s influence.
“Contrary to the assertions listed in the article, I never had any dealings with Johnson & Johnson,” she said in her statement. “[M]y spouse’s efforts to make lifesaving prescription drugs more affordable for Americans has nothing to do with my childhood obesity prevention work.”
She also denied ever applying for or attempting to secure a government contract through her Global Policy Solutions organizations, although she acknowledged that they were listed with the General Services Administration to be eligible for government work.
“[T]he formation and operations of both GPS and CGPS have been guided by legal and accounting professionals and comply with accepted industry and ethical standards,” she insisted.
The scandal follows a major federal IRS investigation involving disgraced former Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh.
While many leaders from both parties called on Pugh to resign following raids on her home and several offices, Cummings, who had been closely aligned with the mayor, was more cautious in his criticism, stopping short of using the ‘r’ word.
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