We travel back to the beginning of Elijah Cumming’s Congressional career when the Baltimore Sun was a respectable newspaper and took Cummings to task for his troublesome finances in 2000.
A review of state and federal records and interviews with associates provide a picture of a man who has spent years warding off debt collectors, juggling unpaid tax bills and paying to support several children.
Those problems were mounting even as Cummings, a public official for 17 years, was becoming a highly popular and influential figure. In his district, Cummings is regarded by some constituents as a surrogate mayor, and he frequently plays host to Cabinet officials and President Clinton when they visit Baltimore.
Only this year, the Democratic congressman said, has he shaken free of most of his debts. He had previously characterized his difficulties as those born of his decision in late 1995 to run for Congress after Rep. Kweisi Mfume announced that he would resign.
Among his most serious troubles:
In the mid-1990s, the Internal Revenue Service filed court papers declaring that Cummings was legally obliged to pay more than $30,000 in unpaid federal taxes. He finished paying those taxes earlier this year.
Cummings appears to have violated campaign finance law by having a donor co-sign a loan that supplied $15,000 for his first House campaign, attorneys knowledgeable about that law say.
In five instances, creditors went to court to force Cummings to pay a total of $24,000 in overdue debts.
Cummings said he has been short of money, in part, because he helps to support three children: his college-age daughter with his now-estranged wife and two children he fathered by other women out of wedlock — a 16-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter. Cummings said he paid about $30,000 last year in child support and tuition payments.
The congressman has referred to his younger daughter in many speeches. But until now, he has never publicly acknowledged the existence of his son. The teen-ager lives with his mother in Baltimore. READ MORE: