Elijah Cummings represents Maryland‘s seventh Congressional district in the House, a position he’s held since 1996. Cummings, 65, is the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which spent Thursday questioning FBI Director James Comey over his decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton. He is also the ranking Democrat on the Select Committee on Benghazi, which investigated Clinton’s response to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.
Here’s a look at Cummings’ career.
1. Cummings Endorsed Clinton Before Benghazi Report was Released
Cummings tried to stay neutral in the race for the 2016 Democratic nomination for as long as he could, hoping he could wait until after the Benghazi Committee released its report. However, Cummings made his decision in April in an op-ed for the Washington Post.
“Families in Baltimore who are hurting right now need more than the promise of a political revolution,” Cummings wrote, adding that the former Secretary of State “not only understands the challenges facing Baltimore and other cities, she’s laid out a clear and detailed agenda that meets those challenges head-on.”
When Clinton testified to the committee in October, Cummings earned a round of applause. “We’re better than using taxpayer dollars to try to destroy a campaign,” he said. “That’s not what America is all about. So you can comment if you like. I just had to get that off my chest.”
Cummings and the other Democrats on the committee released their own report in June, just after the Republicans issued their own. The Republicans responded to that report by accusing the Democrats of focusing on politics. The Republican report is 802 pages, while the Democrats’ was 339 pages.
2. Cummings Participated in the Democrats’ Sit-In Over Gun Control in June
Cummings was among the Democrats who took part in the sit-in that disrupted the House on June 22.
“Our thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. Our moments of silence aren’t enough. We must act, and I am proud to sit with my colleagues to urge a vote on legislation to prevent gun violence. Enough,” Cummings said in a statement.
Cummings also wrote an op-ed for the Afro on July 6 about gun violence, insisting that gun control measures must be taken.
During the sit-in, Cummings told the story of his nephew, Christopher Cummings, who was killed in a random shooting near Old Cominion University in Virginia in 2011, CBS News reported. Christopher Cummings was 20 years old.
“Christopher was an amazing young man who was loved and admired by so many people who had the honor of knowing him. An exceptional student with a 3.5 GPA, he had ambitious plans for his future after graduating from Old Dominion,” Cummings said in a statement at the time.
3. Cummings Criticized Chaffetz’s Decision to Call Comey to Testify Two Days After Comey’s First Statement
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz wasted no time at all by calling Comey to testify before the committee on July 7, just two days after Comey recommended that Clinton not be prosecuted over he email use. In a statement after Chaffetz called Comey to testify, Cummings said the Republicans are just wasting taxpayer dollars and noted how they previously praised Comey.
“Since Republicans disagree with his recommendation, they are doing what they always do—using taxpayer funds to continue ‘investigating’ their baseless claims in an effort to bring down Secretary Clinton’s poll numbers,” Cummings said. “The only emergency here is that yet another Republican conspiracy theory is slipping away.”
During the hearing on July 7, Cummings once again noted how Republicans previously praised Comey.
4. Cummings Was on the Panel That Questioned Baseball Stars Over Steroids
In 2005, the House Government Reform committee held a hearing on steroid use in baseball, which was highlighted by an exchange between Mark McGwire and Cummings. McGwire’s answers were so vague that Cummings asked him if he was going to plead the Fifth Amendment to avoid incriminating himself, CBS News reported at the time.
“I’m not here to talk about the past. I’m here to be positive about this subject,” McGwire responded.
McGwire was asked if he thought using steroids was cheating, but his only response was, “That’s not for me to determine.”
In 2009, Cummings also sent a letter to Alex Rodriguez, who suspended for the entire 2014 season for past steroid use, asking him to teach children about steroid use. However, Cummings’ spokeswoman told The New York Daily News that Cummings wasn’t asking Rodriguez to testify.
5. Cummings Is Also on the Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure
Cummings is also one of the Democrats on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where he is on the subcommittees on the coast guard and maritime transportation; and railroads, pipelines and hazardous materials.
Cummings expressed disappointment with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, after the federal government declined the state’s request to fund two transportation projects for $231 million. According to the Baltimore Sun, Cummings blamed the decision on Hogan, who had cancelled a $2.9 billion light rail project in Baltimore after the federal government approved it.
“I hope that when Governor Hogan walked away from $900 million in federal funding for the Red Line — more than all of this year’s FASTLANE [Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies] grants combined — he didn’t do irreparable damage to Maryland’s ability to compete for discretionary federal transportation awards in the future,” Cummings said.