Ethics group levies more allegations against Rep. Cartwright

October 10, 2019

Mark Schremmer

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Weeks after filing an ethics complaint against Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., for a conflict of interest, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust alleged that the Pennsylvania congressman failed to disclose his wife’s income.

On Sept. 23, FACT wrote the Office of Congressional Ethics regarding Cartwright’s introduction of a bill that could benefit his family’s law firm. The nonprofit organization asked for Cartwright to be investigated “for taking official action in the violation of House ethics rules.”

The original complaint was in response to Cartwright’s introduction of the INSURANCE Act, or HR3781, that would raise the federal minimum insurance requirement for motor carriers from $750,000 to $4.923 million.

“Rep. Cartwright has a financial interest in a law firm that specializes in ‘big truck litigation’ and advertises itself as ‘the nation’s leading truck and accident team,’” FACT wrote in the complaint signed by its executive director, Kendra Arnold. “Cartwright was previously an attorney with Munley Law, where his wife is currently a partner and specializes in ‘commercial truck accident-related injury lawsuits.’”

On Oct. 8, FACT wrote a second letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics to supplement the original complaint.

“For two consecutive years, in apparent direct violation of the Ethics in Government Act and its implementing regulations, Rep. Cartwright’s annual public financial disclosure failed to disclose his wife’s income from Munley Law P.C., where she continues to work as a partner specializing in commercial truck accident cases,” FACT wrote.

The Ethics in Government Act and the House Committee on Ethics’ instructions for public financial disclosure reports says members of Congress must disclose the source and type, but not the amount, of their spouse’s income that totaled $1,000 or more from a single source.

“In spite of this requirement, Rep. Cartwright failed to disclose his spouse’s income from Munley Law P.C. on his 2017 and 2018 public financial reports,” FACT wrote.

The organization said Cartwright disclosed that his wife made income from Munley Law during the previous five years. FACT informed the Office of Congressional Ethics that “public information clearly demonstrates” that Marion Munley continues to work as a partner at Munley Law and did so during 2017 and 2018. According to FACT, Marion Munley won a $26 million settlement in a truck crash case in 2018.

“In light of these facts, the Office of Congressional Ethics needs to investigate whether Rep. Cartwright deliberately omitted his wife’s income from Munley Law PC on Schedule C of his 2017 and 2018 PFDs in order to hide from scrutiny his financial ties to a law firm that stands to gain from the trucking liability insurance legislation he recently introduced,” FACT wrote.

In September, the Washington Examiner reported that the bill could benefit Rep. Cartwright’s family law firm.

“Rep. Matt Cartwright has spent years sponsoring truck insurance legislation that would directly benefit his family’s law firm, in which he owns a multimillion dollar stake, according to financial and lobbying records reviewed by the Washington Examiner,” the article stated.

In 2013, just months after Cartwright took office, he introduced a similar bill to raise the minimum liability insurance requirements to $4.2 million. The October 2013 issue of Land Line Magazine includes an article from Managing Editor Jami Jones detailing his connection to the Munley, Munley & Cartwright law firm in Pennsylvania.

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, staff writer, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.