IRS Complaint: Wife of Elijah Cummings May Have Received Illegal Benefits From His Committee Activities
The Washington Examiner reported yesterday that an IRS complaint filed by the National Legal and Policy Center alleges that “a charity run by the wife of Rep. Elijah Cummings received millions from special interest groups and corporations that had business before her husband’s committee and could have been used illegally.” Cummings is the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. His wife, Maya Rockeymore, is the chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party. Despite once being deep in debt, Cummings' financial situation has improved since marrying Rockeymore in 2008.
Rockeymoore runs two entities, a nonprofit group called the Center for Global Policy Solutions and a for-profit consulting firm called Global Policy Solutions, LLC, whose operations appear to have overlapped, according to the IRS complaint filed by watchdog group the National Legal and Policy Center on Monday. The complaint states that the arrangement may have been used to derive "illegal private benefit."
Global Policy Solutions received more than $6.2 million in grants between 2013 and 2016, according to tax records. Several of the nonprofit group’s financial backers — which included Google, J.P Morgan, and Prudential — have business interests before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Cummings has served as Democratic chairman of the committee since January and previously served as ranking member.
The largest contributor to the nonprofit organization was the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a company that is regulated by Cummings’ committee. The foundation, which gave a total of $5.5 million to Rockeymoore’s consulting firm and $5.2 million to her nonprofit group, ceased supporting her groups in 2017.
“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,” said Tom Anderson, director of the National Legal and Policy Center’s Government Integrity Project. “The potential for corruption in this situation is simply off the charts and can't be understated.” Anderson is calling on Cummings and his wife to provide the public with the legally mandated documents all charities must disclose.
Neither Cummings nor his wife chose to speak with the Washington Examiner, but Rockeymore did release a statement yesterday calling the allegations an attempt to silence her and her husband.“It appears a conservative front group and a news outlet . . . 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.” Cummings released his own statement, writing off the allegations as “a fabricated distraction from the important work being done on behalf of Americans, such as lowering the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs.”
As chairman of the House Oversight committee, Elijah Cummings has been leading the effort to obtain Trump's tax returns and financial records, but is apparently unwilling to live up to his own alleged standard of transparency. Now that a genuine conflict of interest and illegal/unethical behavior appears to have been discovered, it really makes the fishing expedition he's leading against Trump that much more hypocritical.
Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama's Legacy, will be published in July 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis