Myth Blaster: Legislators Play Solitaire at House of Reps Session

There’s an email going around that shows a photo of politician/legislative members playing solitaire on laptops during a session. There are a couple of versions – here is one of them:

Nothing else need to be said.  This is one of their THREE DAY WORK WEEKS that we all pay for.  I am ready to start from the beginning by voting out all elected officials and not letting any of them stay in office for more than two terms.  No more lifelong healthcare, retirement, voting in their own pay raises, taking perks on our taxes, etc.
House Minority Leader  Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, pictured standing, far  right, speaks while colleagues Rep. Barbara Lambert,  D-Milford and Rep. Jack F. Hennessy, D-Bridgeport, play solitaire Monday night as the House convened to vote on a  new budget. (AP) The guy sitting in the row in front of these two…  he’s on Facebook, and the guy behind Hennessy is checking out the baseball scores.

Myth Blaster Verdict:

Photo image is real (AP photographer Jessica HillVaried Response, according to email version. First, some email alludes or states that this photo was taken at the US Congress. Wrong. They are Connecticut state legislators in the Connecticut House of Representatives. …
From Courant Capitol WatchHartford Courant, September 1st 2009 …

The Associated Press picture has appeared in any number of venues, and it shows two lawmakers sitting in the back row of the historic Hall of the House in Hartford during the lengthy debate over the two-year, $37 billion state budget. On the left is Rep. Barbara Lambert, a freshman Democrat from Milford who won her first legislative election in November 2008. She replaced longtime Milford Democrat James Amann, who ended his legislative career as the House Speaker and is now running for governor against Republican M. Jodi Rell. Lambert is playing spider solitaire in the photo, while Rep. Jack F. Hennessy, a Bridgeport Democrat who has served in Hartford since 2005, is playing regular solitaire. They both voted in favor of the Democratic-written budget, while Cafero voted against it. A Boston Collegegraduate, Hennessy is a delivery specialist for FedEx.
During the long debates at the state Capitol, legislators often work on their laptop computers – as seen in the photograph. Sometimes they are answering e-mails from constituents, while other times they are researching important information on pending bills. Other times, they are playing solitaire.
When asked Tuesday about the photo by Capitol Watch, Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell laughed and said, “I think if they’d spend less time playing computer games and more time looking for spending cuts, then we would have been out of here a lot sooner.”
Republican Tom Foley, who is running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Christopher J. Dodd, said, “I was disheartened to see a Hartford Courant front page photo showing members of our Democratically-controlled legislature playing solitaire on their computers while debate was occurring on a new state budget that raises taxes and contains no net reduction in spending. This is not a time for the Democrats who control our legislature to be playing games with 
Connecticut‘s future. Our elected officials need to put away their computer toys and help working people by lowering taxes and keeping government spending down.” The photo by Jessica Hill is gaining national attention through an item posted to the front of the Drudge Report and a blog post by conservative blogger Michelle Malkin.

The photo by Jessica Hill is gaining national attention through an item posted to the front of the Drudge Report and a blog post by conservative blogger Michelle Malkin.

In a scene reminiscent of every law school class ever, three members of the Connecticut State House of Representatives were caught on camera goofing around on their computers during the height of the legislature’s big budget debate yesterday.

I couldn’t help but smile in seeing this story from a few days ago about Connecticut legislators amusing themselves with their laptops during session. It brings back such fond memories of the Assembly Late Night post from December 2005. These Connecticut legislators should get in touch with Phil Montgomery at some legislative junket. Phil likes to play solitaire too. Of course, unlike Connecticut leggies, Wisconsin leggies are smart enough to implement policies that keep the press away from positions in the chamber that would allow them to take photos like this. They might not be great at governance, but when it comes to covering their own asses, Wisconsin legislators are among the best in the nation.

  • Oh My Gov!Mark Malseed, September 6th, 2009 …

Yeah, it was a dull speech … but solitaire? … Two members of the Connecticut House of Representatives who were playing solitaire on their computers on a late-night debate session last week were caught red-handed (make that black-handed too) by an Associated Press photographer. The photo shows state Reps. Barbara Lambert and Jack Hennessey, both Democrats, playing solitaire side-by-side as a Republican colleague delivers a speech on the House floor. … While some defended the solitaire players, saying that everyone is entitled to some goofing off during boring meetings, you have to wonder whether elected officials shouldn’t be held to a slightly higher standard than Jane over in Accounting. …

Special Mention to readers Don Farr of Iowa, CJ, Wisconsin, Helen Marie and Joan Bartlet, Illinois for sending chain email concerning this topic.


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