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Charity run by wife of Elijah Cummings incurs new ethics - complaint

Posted: Jul 18th, 2019 - 3:51 am

A watchdog group is asking the Maryland attorney general to investigate whether Rep. Elijah Cummings and his wife used a charity for improper self-enrichment, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by the Washington Examiner.

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, which leans conservative, filed the complaint on Monday against the Center for Global Policy Solutions, a nonprofit organization founded by Cummings’ wife, Maya Rockeymoore.

The complaint asked Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh to investigate the financial relationship between the Center for Global Policy Solutions and Rockeymoore’s for-profit consulting firm, Global Policy Solutions LLC.

The similarly named entities shared an address, phone number, projects, funding sources, and had a cost-sharing arrangement that raises questions about a “potentially improper financial benefit to Ms. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and her husband, Representative Elijah Cummings,” the complaint asserts.

“This is a unique situation that warrants necessary oversight to maintain public confidence in nonprofit donations,” said FACT’s executive director Kendra Arnold in a letter to Frosh.

Rockeymoore’s foundation came under scrutiny earlier this year after the Washington Examiner reported that the foundation had accepted millions of dollars from corporations and special interest groups with business before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a committee led by Cummings, a Maryland congressman.

Rockeymoore’s nonprofit group received over $6.2 million in grants between 2013 and 2016 from special interest groups and corporations. 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 National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group that has been investigating Rockeymoore’s foundation and for-profit consulting company, filed a complaint with the IRS in May detailing evidence of potential self-dealing at the charity. According to the complaint, Global Policy Solutions and the Center for Global Policy Solutions appeared to have overlapping operations, and the arrangement may have been used to derive “illegal private benefit.” The complaint asked the IRS to investigate the “shared leadership,” “integrated operations,” and “shared address and physical facilities” of her two companies.

Rockeymoore’s charity also paid over $250,000 in management fees to her for-profit consulting firm between 2013 and 2015, according to audited financial reports for the foundation published by the Daily Caller last month. IRS law prohibits insiders at nonprofit groups from self-dealing, or using foundation money for their own personal financial benefit.

Rockeymoore did not respond to a request for comment on the complaint. Cummings previously dismissed criticism of his wife’s business dealings as “a fabricated distraction from the important work being done on behalf of Americans, such as lowering the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs.”

LINK/URL: Charity run by wife of Elijah Cummings incurs new ethics


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