Maryland's Republican party Monday said that a slew of Democratic elected officials, including President Barack Obama, Gov. Martin O'Malley and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, return thousands of dollars in campaign funds donated by Richard Stewart, a politically connected businessman who pleaded guilty last week to failing to pay $4 million in taxes.
UPDATE: Cummings will donate the funds he received to "a charity," said Vernon Simms, chief of staff to the Congressman.
UPDATE: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown will "look into" the matter. Because of the holiday, there "hasn't been a discussion" on the issue, said Earl Adams, chief of staff to Brown.
Stewart, a Mitchellville businessman, was a member of the Stadium Authority and the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee, a group that recommended new Congressional and legislative political lines for the next ten years. O'Malley told The Sun that he had been unaware of Stewart's legal problems until they were made public last week. O'Malley said Stewart would be removed from both panels.
Stewart pleaded guilty to not paying roughly $3.9 million in Social Security and income taxes from his employee's wages from 2003 to 2008. The MD GOP pointed out Monday that during the same period Stewart gave roughly $75,000 in political donations to Democratic candidates. The list runs the gamut from a Baltimore city council candidate to presidential contenders.
"It would be entirely appropriate if the candidates who received stolen money return the contributions," said David Ferguson, the executive director of the MD GOP. Maryland's Republican party first publicized Stewart's guilty plea on Thursday.
Donations from Stewart from 2003 to 2008 include:
$7,000 to Gov. Martin O'Malley
$4,750 to Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown
$1,000 to Hillary Clinton
$250 to President Barack Obama
$1,500 to U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings