Maryland Democratic Party overspent by hundreds of thousands under Rockeymoore Cummings, acting chairman says

The new acting chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party says the organization was overspending by hundreds of thousands of dollars without proper financial controls under the leadership of former chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who is now seeking her late husband’s seat in Congress.

State Sen. Cory V. McCray, who took over as party chairman this month, wrote in a letter Friday to Maryland State Central Committee members that he has discovered “major areas of concern” pertaining to the organization’s finances, including “overspending” and lack of “fiscal constraints.”

“In 2019, the Party has spent more money than it has raised for 9 out of 10 months,” wrote McCray, of East Baltimore. “At the beginning of 2019, the Party’s bank balance was nearly $700,000; today it is around $360,000.”

To right the organization’s fiscal health, McCray said, he has begun canceling contracts with consultants and recommending other fiscal controls.

“As a Maryland Senator, business owner, and past executive committee member of the Metropolitan Baltimore Council AFL-CIO, Central Scholarships, and a number of community boards, I have a particular appreciation for the importance of imposing financial controls in an organization of our size,” McCray wrote.

McCray said he terminated a $5,500 monthly contract with Stephanie Mellinger Consulting as a fundraising consultant and a $3,000 monthly contract with Fairmount Media Consulting to serve as the organization’s email consultant.

McCray wrote he’s also requested reports from two other consultants about the work they’re providing for the party: Coco B Consulting, which is paid $7,500 per month to serve as the organization’s “DNC convention consultant,” and Mikki Waid Consulting, which is paid $1,000 per month to be the organization’s “platform committee consultant.”

Maryland Democrats will elect a new party chair on Dec. 7. Rockeymoore Cummings said she resigned as chairwoman this month to avoid any appearance of favoritism as she campaigns for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District seat, which includes parts of Baltimore City and areas of Baltimore and Howard counties.

Moving forward, McCray recommended that the organization require its treasurer to approve all checks to contractors and additional levels of approval for large expenses.

“Earlier this year, the Chair commissioned a poll at a cost of $42,000,” McCray wrote. “But it does not appear that either members of the Executive Committee, Statewide Leaders, or County Leaders had advance knowledge of the poll. In the future, the Party should set a threshold amount and require that any expenditures over that threshold amount receive the approval of the Party’s officers.”

McCray wrote that he is suggesting the new chair be paid a “reasonable” salary because of the duties of managing $1 million to $3 million in annual revenue, day-to-day oversight of the organization, and fundraising activities throughout the state. The position is currently unpaid.

*story by Baltimore Sun