A government watchdog filed new evidence boosting its claim that Rep. Matt Cartwright (D., Pa.) sponsored legislation he knew would financially benefit the law firm where his wife works.
The nonprofit group, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), sent a letter on Tuesday to the Office of Congressional Ethics with updated information on the first complaint it had filed last month about Cartwright's legislation.
Cartwright's wife, Marion, works as an attorney who "specializes in commercial truck accident and product liability cases." Cartwright, meanwhile, has introduced legislation that would dramatically increase the liability insurance minimums truck drivers must carry, from the current $750,000 minimum up to $4.5 million, an increase of 600 percent.
In its new letter, FACT points out that Cartwright failed to list his wife and her source of income from the law firm in his last two federally required financial disclosures.
"In light of these facts, the Office of Congressional Ethics needs to investigate whether Rep. Cartwright deliberately omitted his wife's income … in order to hide from scrutiny his financial ties to a law firm that stands to gain from the trucking liability legislation he recently introduced," the new letter says.
FACT alleges that Cartwright knew he was required to list income for his spouse because all of his financial disclosures up to 2016 had done so.
Some industry advocates have already called on Cartwright to recuse himself from the matter.
"From our perspective, it's blatantly obvious the motives behind the legislation are to economically improve the bottom line for attorneys that specialize in suing truckers," Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, told the Washington Examiner last month. "Should there be any integrity in our system at all, [Cartwright] should be recusing himself from involvement."