TOP 10 LIST #10: Rockeymoore Cummings Calls Article on Her Finances Politically Motivated ‘Hit Piece’
Editor’s Note: As the year winds down, we’re re-running the 10 most-read pieces of the year in Maryland Matters. Here is #10, which first appeared on May 21. Since the article ran, Elijah Cummings has died, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings has resigned from the Maryland Democratic Party to run in the crowded special election to replace him, and conservative critics are still raising questions about her finances. Look for #9 on the list tomorrow.
Maryland Democratic Chair Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is hitting back at a published report suggesting that a nonprofit she runs received millions of dollars from special interests and corporations that have business before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which is chaired by her husband, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.).
In a statement released to Maryland Matters Tuesday morning, Rockeymoore Cummings referred to The Washington Examiner piece that was published Monday as a politically motivated attempt “to intimidate my family into silence.”
“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, U.S. Congressman Elijah E. Cummings— who holds a critical oversight role in our nation’s government,” Rockeymoore Cummings said.
The article landed on the same day a federal judge ruled that President Trump’s accountant must turn key financial records over to the Oversight Committee. According to The Washington Post, Trump called the decision “crazy” and said he would appeal.
“We think it’s totally the wrong decision by, obviously, an Obama-appointed judge,” he said.
The Oversight committee is one of several congressional panels investigating the Trump administration or the president’s personal financial dealings.
According to the Examiner account, a watchdog group, the National Legal and Policy Center, has filed an ethics complaint with the IRS, alleging that the money received by two entities that Rockeymoore Cummings runs could have been used illegally.
Tom Anderson, director of the National Legal and Policy Center’s Government Integrity Project, which has been investigating the nonprofit arrangement and was the Examiner’s principal source for the story, said the potential for corruption is “off the charts.”
Rockeymoore Cummings runs two entities, the article said – a nonprofit group called the Center for Global Policy Solutions and a for-profit consulting firm called Global Policy Solutions, LLC, whose operations may have overlapped.
Global Policy Solutions received more than $6.2 million in grants between 2013 and 2016, according to the Examiner, including from corporations whose interests fall under the jurisdiction of the Oversight committee. The largest contributor to the nonprofit, the article reported, was the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the charitable arm of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson – a target of Cummings in his congressional work.
In her statement, Rockeymoore Cummings cast the allegations in the Examiner article as false.
“In 2006, my firm, Global Policy Solutions LLC (GPS) was pleased to win a childhood obesity prevention grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF),” she said. “In this role, I was honored to direct a national initiative focused on helping states and localities advance healthy eating and active living initiatives in an effort to combat the nation’s growing childhood obesity epidemic.
“In 2012, I founded the Center for Global Policy Solutions (CGPS), a 501c3 nonprofit, to pursue my interest in doing more charitable work focused on tackling disparities in health, education, economic security and technology. After the formation of CGPS, subsequent RWJF grant awards were applied for and received by the nonprofit entity because our childhood obesity prevention work was charitable in nature.
“Contrary to the assertions listed in the article, I never had any dealings with Johnson & Johnson; my spouse’s efforts to make lifesaving prescription drugs more affordable for Americans has nothing to do with my childhood obesity prevention work; and, although my firm GPS is listed on the General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule, neither of the entities I founded and managed has ever applied for or secured a government contract.
“Additionally, the formation and operations of both GPS and CGPS have been guided by legal and accounting professionals and comply with accepted industry and ethical standards.”
The Examiner article suggested that Cummings had struggled financially due to a divorce and child support payments, but noted that his financial outlook “improved considerably” after he married Rockeymoore Cummings in 2008.