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Two Pennsylvania Dems Pushed for Taxpayer-Funded Landlord Relief. Both Are Landlords.

Matt Cartwright, Susan Wild called for federal aid to assist landlords while raking in rental income

Pa. Reps. Matt Cartwright and Susan Wild
• August 26, 2021 4:59 am

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Two Pennsylvania Democrats who collected tens of thousands of dollars in rental income in 2020 pushed for taxpayer-funded relief for landlords without acknowledging that they could profit from the policy.

Reps. Matt Cartwright and Susan Wild collected up to $130,000 in combined rental income in 2020, their latest financial disclosures show. In December, Cartwright deemed a Democratic-led effort to extend the CDC's eviction moratorium insufficient, writing, "We also need to pass an aid package to assist landlords." Wild, meanwhile, called federal assistance for landlords "a key part of our state recovery" in March. Neither Democrat acknowledged their status as landlords in their public remarks.

Cartwright and Wild are far from the only House Democrats who raked in thousands of dollars during the pandemic as they advocated federal landlord relief. "Squad" members Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) reported up to $65,000 in combined 2020 rental income. At the same time, both Democrats backed legislation that would cancel rent and create a "landlord relief fund," which would require the federal government to reimburse landlords for lost income.

According to their financial disclosures, both Cartwright and Wild reported earning the same range of rental income in 2020 as they did in 2019. Many small landlords, however, struggled to collect rent amid the eviction moratorium, which the Pennsylvania Democrats supported throughout 2020. Cartwright and Wild also reported millions of dollars in assets and enjoy a $174,000 congressional salary—roughly a third of individual landlords earn less than $90,000 a year, according to the left-leaning Brookings Institution.

Neither Democrat returned a request for comment.

Cartwright's rental income stems from three sources, the Democrat's financial disclosures show: a Scranton, Pa., office building; a Hague, N.Y., "property trust"; and a Massachusetts holding company based in Nantucket. Cartwright earned up to $115,000 from the properties in 2020.

According to Wild's financial disclosure, the Democrat owns a Washington, D.C., rental property worth between $250,000 and $500,000. Local real estate records obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show that Wild inherited the property from her late mother, Susan Ellis, in 2015. She earned up to $15,000 in rental income from the property in 2019 and 2020. Wild used the property's address to register a D.C.-based limited liability corporation in 2015, according to the city's business records. The Democrat then listed the LLC on her financial disclosure to report the rental income, rather than reveal the property's address.

Both Cartwright and Wild face contentious reelection battles in 2022, having narrowly defeated their Republican challengers by just 3 points each in November. Cartwright is one of seven House Democrats who represent a district that voted for Donald Trump in 2020. He outperformed President Joe Biden by 8 points in the district, which includes Biden's hometown of Scranton.