Elijah Cummings Places Needs of Corporate Special Interests Ahead of the Needs of his Constituents

Release Date: Jul 25 2008


In a press release dated July 23, 2008, Congressman Elijah Cummings (MD-7), celebrated the increase in the federal minimum wage that took place yesterday. For residents of Maryland, it is a 40-cent increase to $6.55 per hour. For a person working 40 hours per week, and a full 52 weeks, that amounts to an additional $832 in their pocket over a year. Yet Congressman Cummings claims, “[w]ith the additional money provided by our legislation, a family can buy an additional 15 months of groceries, 19 months of utilities, and 20 months of childcare.” That claim “defies common sense” according to his opponent, Dr. Michael Hargadon, who points out that the Consumer Price Index is high at 5%, with price increases for food and energy even higher.

Congress in general, and Congressman Cummings in particular, are adept at changing the discussion, according to Dr. Hargadon. “The real issue here is not wages for workers, but prices that consumers have to pay. While Congress raised the minimum wage ever so slightly, they also have passed numerous measures which have actually brought about the price increases they have supposedly been trying to prevent,” said Dr. Hargadon.

He further noted that on the same day Cummings issued this press release, he voted along with the rest of Congress to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, granting the two corporations an open line of credit from the US Treasury. Dr. Hargadon elaborated, “This measure will inevitably result in further price increases throughout our economy, because, as more dollars get printed, the value of each one goes down and prices invariably rise.” But Dr. Hargadon expressed little surprise that Congressman Cummings voted in favor of the legislation – he points out that Cummings has received $10,000 in donations from the two corporations since 2003.

“This is the method of our current Congress. Throw scraps to the poor by raising the minimum wage, while giving out generous favors to their special interest friends. Congressman Cummings has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from special interests, so his first priority is to satisfy the lobbyists on K Street, not the downtrodden working poor in Baltimore,” continued Dr. Hargadon, who has pledged to refuse donations from special interest groups. “As the next Congressman of Maryland’s Seventh District, I will represent the people of this district, not corporate special interest groups,” concluded Dr. Hargadon.