Distracted delegates exposed

And you think you have a productivity problem.

A video by a Virginia Commonwealth University journalism student Tracy Kennedy shows how state delegates make use of official time—they check Facebook and shop online using the Capitol’s wireless network.

Kennedy photographed legislators surfing the Internet on their Dell laptops during a formal session of the General Assembly. While covering one day’s session in the hallowed halls of state government, she noticed about 20 delegates browsing various websites. None of which had any bearing on the business of the commonwealth.

Delegate Chris Peace (R-Mechanicsville), along with several others, was checking Facebook. Delegate Bob Brink (D-Arlington) was shopping for furniture at Crate & Barrell while Delegate David Albo (R-Springfield) was looking at the real estate listing for a $3.5 million house in Mason Neck,Va.  Other delegates were found shopping for guns, Civil War memorabilia, and items on eBay.  Below is a video presentation of the legislator’s “on-the-clock” activites on the world wide web.


Kennedy was one of the many reporters contributing to the Capital News Service, a student-staffed news service that covers state government during each year’s General Assembly session. Their stories appear in more than 70 papers through out the state, as well as Richmond BizSense.

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3 Comments on "Distracted delegates exposed"

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David Bailey

Entertaining story, but due to the absence of sound, there is no evidence that the people’s business was being conducted during the time that some legislators were online. Was this filmed before the session convened? Was it filmed while there was a break in business, a recess? This U-Tube gotcha reporting can be entertaining and also quite misleading.

Tracy Kennedy
Information regarding the video. “-The House was not in recess- these pictures were taken during the Ash Wednesday session while pieces of legislation from the Senate were being presented to the Delegates for them to vote on. That was the third from last day for the regular session and they had a lot of work to do, it wasn’t a slow work day by any means. -Delegate Englin was on his Facebook talking about a bill he voted against. However, he was on Facebook while another legislator was giving a speech, so I don’t see how he could have been… Read more »
Alice Lynch
The reporter only presented part of the story – and that is not good journalism. Knowing that this was Ash Wednesday, then it was the Reconveniened Session – known by some as the veto session – when legislators consider the governor’s amendments and attempt to override his vetos. Did the reporter have a clue about the actual work going on? This legislation is well known to the delegates and while there are, at times, heated debates, most of the legislation passes rather quickly (in my observations). The legislators, committees, and the whole body know what’s coming from the governor and… Read more »