CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A national watchdog group is highlighting the banking job of Rep. Shelley Moore Capito's husband as the congresswoman's committee weighs legislation that affects the financial industry.
The West Virginia Republican chairs the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee. Her husband, Charlie, works for Wells Fargo Advisors.
Shelley Moore Capito sponsored legislation that would postpone new limits on the so-called "swipe fees" that banks and credit card companies charge to merchants when their customers pay with credit and debit cards.
"We believe the public has the right to know that a bill you have authored is considered a key legislative goal of the bank that just hired your husband," the group, which opposes the legislation, wrote to Capito in a letter dated Tuesday.
The letter cites Wells Fargo's annual report, in which the company called the swipe-fee limits "government price controls...[that] distort our market-based, free-enterprise economy."
Public Citizen is a consumer advocacy organization founded 40 years ago by Ralph Nader.
The group's letter had asked Capito to make a public declaration of her husband's employment Wednesday when her committee opened up debate on that bill and others. The committee also was considering legislation that would weaken the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency that is a key part of the financial oversight reforms passed last year.
In a statement to the Gazette, Capito spokeswoman Jamie Corley said the congresswoman has always been clear about her husband's employment.
"This isn't news," Corley said. "How can Public Citizen urge the congresswoman to disclose her husband's job and then cite a newspaper article from Monday that, well, disclosed her husband's job?"
She called the group's statements "clearly a publicity stunt on the part of Public Citizen, and not a very good one at that."
"The congresswoman follows House disclosure rules to a T and has always been forthcoming about her husband's 35-year career in the banking industry," Corley said. "She is focused on representing her constituents and overseeing important hearings, markups and bills in her committee and does not have time to respond to baseless claims."