Morris shuns freebiesPublished 8:32pm Tuesday, January 29, 2013
State representatives in Richmond accepted freebies to the tune of over $220,000 last year, gift disclosures say. But Delegate Rick Morris, R-Carrollton, wasn’t among them.
While other members of the 2013 General Assembly accepted things like meals, tickets to sporting events and trips overseas, Morris said he didn’t due to a personal rule against accepting gifts from lobbyists — plus, he said, he’s more of a homebody.
“To be frank, whenever I’m not working on the General Assembly, I’ve got my own private work,” Morris said. “I don’t socialize much at all. I really don’t get out and socialize with lobbyists.”
The delegate said he doesn’t take any trips offered by lobbyists “just because that’s not something I want to do.”
Morris indicated that he wants to avoid the pitfall of appearing beholden to a lobbyist who picks up his tab, something he said he would not be comfortable with.
“It wouldn’t compromise me,” he said. “Just don’t go down that rabbit hole. I don’t want my constituents to think I’m being bought.”
Morris said he would continue resisting the charms of lobbyists bearing gifts in the future.
“There is a lot of delegates that I know that don’t take gifts,” he said.
Morris was one of three South Hampton Roads state lawmakers who did not accept gifts, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
The other two were delegates Sal Iaquinto and Bob Purkey, both Republicans representing Virginia Beach.
Topping the from the region list was Senator Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, reporting gifts totaling $5,056, including $3,700 in travel from the American Turkish Friendship Association.
Meanwhile, delegates John Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake, and Barry Knight, R-Virginia Beach, accepted gifts worth $4,400 and $3,260 respectively.