Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is facing ethics concerns after a conservative watchdog group found that his wife may have benefitted from his House leadership position, according to a report from the Washington Examiner.
Cummings chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform which is the main investigative committee of the lower legislative body. While serving as chair, Cummings has overseen the investigations into and regulations for many large corporations.
The chairman’s wife, Maya Rockeymoore, operates a non-profit called Center for Global Policy Solutions and a for-profit consulting agency called Global Policy Solutions, LLC.
While Cummings served as chair of the Oversight Committee, Rockeymoore’s Global Policy Solutions received financial backing from Google, J.P Morgan, and Prudential — all of which had business before the committee while Cummings was serving as chair or ranking member.
Johnson & Johnson charity, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was the non-profit’s largest financial backer. Rockeymoore raked in more than $10 million into her two operations from the charity. Her non-profit received a total of $5.2 million while her for-profit consulting firm brought in $5.5 million.
The pharmaceutical giant stopped contributing to Rockeymoore’s operations in 2017. Since then, Cummings has been a vocal critic of Johnson & Johnson as part of the committee’s investigation into pharmaceutical prices in the U.S.
When the right-leaning National Legal and Policy Center requested the financial records of Rockeymoore’s non-profit — which the organization is required by law to turn over — the non-profit refused. This prompted the IRS complaint from the center requesting information about the overlapping aspects of Rockeymoore’s non-profit and for-profit operations.
This overlap could be illegal because Rockeymoore’s consulting group received a $1 million federal contract to oversee “Leadership for Healthy Communities” — a 2017 project from the General Services Administration — for which Rockeymoore’s non-profit “served as the national program office.” This could qualify as “self-dealing,” which is illegal under IRS laws.
National Legal and Policy Center’s Government Integrity Project director Tom Anderson claimed the lack of transparency is a “serious problem.” Anderson told the Washington Examiner:
“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. The potential for corruption in this situation is simply off the charts and can’t be understated. We hope Chairman Cummings works with his wife to end the stonewalling and provide the public with what’s legally mandated all charities provide.”
This IRS controversy for Cummings and Rockeymoore comes as the congressman continues to demand that President Donald Trump release his personal taxes for his committee to comb through.