State lawmakers scored some pretty sweet perks in 2012. And now, we're getting a peek thanks to new data compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP).
Every January, legislators are required to report any major gifts they received the previous year worth more than $50. That includes things like lavish meals, golf outings, and overseas trips. Much of what is reported is very standard, but some items do stand out among legislators in central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.
First up, let's look at Senator Bryce Reeves. He racked up more than $8,000 in gifts last year; that's the fifth highest amount of any lawmaker in 2012. Most of Reeves' expenses can be traced back to either an overseas trip or a two-part leadership course. Reeves traveled to Taiwan as a member of a group promoting Virginia business abroad. Travel expenses reportedly cost about $4,000. The "emerging leaders" course, paid for by GOPAC for a handful of GOP lawmakers, cost a little less than $3,000.
Senator Creigh Deeds also saw his fair share of gifts in 2012, mostly in the form of college football tickets. Deeds received more than $2,000 in tickets to games at the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech in 2012. That put him at the top of the list of lawmakers who received gifts related to sporting events.
"Because Charlottesville is in the [25th] district, I get invited to the games at the University of Virginia," Deeds said. "Maybe people don't want a football fan to be their state senator, I don't know. I enjoy football games, and I'm going to keep going if I can."
Deeds credits his higher-than-average gifts to the fact that he had more free Saturdays in 2012, and thus more opportunities to attend games at UVA.
Virginia Tech's ticketing policy allows each state legislator two tickets to two different games every year - that includes the Commonwealth Cup matchup between UVA and Virginia Tech. Legislators that serve regions near Virginia Tech are often invited to more games. The school also says no public dollars are used to provide tickets to lawmakers. Instead, self-funding through a private foundation pays for all athletic department expenses at Virginia Tech.
UVA did not respond to requests for information by deadline.
State Legislators’ Gifts from 2012 DisclosedMore>>
Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science.Full Story
Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story