A legal expert contended Friday that Rep. Elijah Cummings’ (D-MD) wife broke the law by not revealing financial documents relating to her nonprofit, which might suggest a potential conflict with Cummings’ stewardship as the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
A Daily Caller News Foundation investigation conducted by Luke Rosiak suggested that Cummings’ wife, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, is breaking the law by declining to disclose documents relating to her nonprofit, the Center for Global Policy Solutions, which is closely related to a for-profit consulting group, Group Policy Solutions LLC.
The nonprofit reportedly received millions of dollars from groups that have special interests pertaining to Cummings’ committee, which could suggest that their donations would buy them favorable treatment before the committee, according to a complaint filed to the IRS by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC).
Three separate groups reportedly have requested the forms, and Rockeymoore Cummings has refused to disclose documents relating to her nonprofit. She declined to discuss the matter with the NLPC and did not answer formal requests for records from the Daily Caller or the Washington Examiner.
Sally Wagenmaker, a lawyer that specializes in nonprofit tax law, suggested that refusal to hand over the documents breaks the law.
“Wow. That’s illegal,” Wagenmaker contended. “It’s interesting and sad. You have the right to get them. The organization absolutely is required to provide the information, so to not do so would appear to be flaunting the law.”
“As a family member of an elected official, we’d expect high-road, integrity, and compliance. If anyone should be responding promptly, it should be her. He should be above approach,” Wagenmaker added.
Rockeymoore Cummings reportedly did not provide any reasoning for her refusal to hand over the documents. Cummings attacked the NLPC and the Examiner, suggesting that they lean conservative. However, he neglected to mention how that would negate any potential legal issues over the release of his wife’s nonprofit documents.
The IRS requires that nonprofits disclose information about their operations in exchange for their tax-exempt status on an IRS form called a Form 990.
One of the policy reasons for disclosure is to be able to to illuminate conflict of interest, and the media’s role is to help illuminate that: is she trying to hide information, is she being secretive, does she think she’s above the law? And one of the ways that happens is through the required disclosure of 990s.
The report arises after Cummings recently subpoenaed President Donald Trump’s business records. Trump has filed a suit to block Cummings’ subpoena over these records.
Congressional Democrats, including Cummings, have called for hearings to investigate the Trump Foundation. Although, the hearings might also raise concerns over whether Cummings and his wife have any conflicts of interests regarding his wife’s nonprofit.
Trump said in the legal complaint that Democrats such as Cummings have “declared all-out political war” against him, using subpoenas as their “weapon of choice.”
Donald Trump Jr., in response to the report over Cummings’ wife’s nonprofit, wondered how many of Rockeymoore Cummings’ donors gave to her nonprofit to gain access to Cummings.
Well, she must be hiding something right? That’s how you do this right?
I wonder how many of her donors were doing so to gain favor with her husband who controls a very powerful congressional committee? https://t.co/LnSePhnjQn
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 31, 2019
Tom Anderson, an investigator with the NLPC, said that nonprofits have to disclose their business practices.
The problem is there are millions of dollars coming into these entities from corporations and special interests with business before Elijah Cummings, and any time you have that, every rule has to be followed or else it opens the door for massive corruption. And that holds whether the politician in question is Donald Trump, Elijah Cummings or someone else.
The NLPC investigator said in a conversation with Cummings, he “went on to rant about how we’re a conspiracy right-wing group for super-mega billionaires, which sounds like something out of Star Wars.”
Anderson reiterated that Cummings did not provide any evidence to suggest his complaint to the IRS was wrong.
“We’re going to Johnson + Johnson, Prudential, lining up all the dots,” Anderson said, regarding companies that have donated to the nonprofit, suggesting that it could raise concerns over conflict of interest.