Watch CBS News

GOP lawmaker from Vermont caught on video repeatedly dumping water into her Democratic colleague's bag

A Republican state lawmaker from Vermont has apologized for repeatedly pouring water into a Democratic colleague's bag, after he caught her doing it on video.

State Rep. Mary Morrissey publicly apologized to state Rep. Jim Carroll, colleagues and the citizens of Vermont from the House floor on Monday. Both are from Bennington, a town of about 15,000 in the southwestern corner of the state.

"I am truly ashamed for my actions," Morrissey said of "her disrespectful conduct" toward Carroll. She said she had apologized directly to Carroll and would be working toward "resolution and restoration throughout legislative process."

Vermont Lawmaker Water in Bag
This image taken from video provided by Vermont Rep. Jim Carroll, a Democrat, appears to show Vermont Rep. Mary Morrissey, a Republican from Bennington, pouring water into Carroll's bag on April 26, 2024.  Jim Carroll / AP

In response, Carroll told the chamber that he heard the sincerity in her voice but that he had to be frank, saying: "For five months, I went through this," and Morrissey had a choice each time she did it.

"It was torment," he said.

Carroll told The Associated Press that the tote bag he hangs in a hallway at the Statehouse was soaked a couple of times per week in January and February. Then, after he was charged with driving under the influence in February and returned from rehab, his bag was soaked almost daily, he said.

"It was relentless," Carroll said, adding that he was fairly confident it was Morrissey, who he said often mistreated him. He set up a video camera behind a scarf on the opposite wall and captured Morrissey pouring water from a glass into the bag on April 23 and April 26. Carroll, who shared the video with CBS affiliate WCAX-TV last week, showed the footage to House Speaker Jill Krowinski, who confronted Morrissey with it.

"This is a truly disturbing situation that is at odds with our legislative practices," Krowinski, a Democrat, said in a statement. She added that "the integrity and decorum of our legislative proceedings and of legislators are of paramount importance, and any actions or behaviors that compromise these values will be thoroughly investigated and addressed."

Carroll told WCAX-TV that he would emerge from his Economic Development Committee room and check on his bag hanging outside. "There were occasions where it wasn't wet at lunchtime and then at the end of the day it was wet," he said.

Morrissey, who faces an ethics investigation, was also removed from a key committee, the station reported.

Morrissey hasn't said why she did it, and she didn't respond to an email seeking comment.

"Quite honestly, I don't know why I did it. I was not meaning to hurt Jim, it was something very out of character for me and I'm ashamed of myself," she said last week, according to WCAX-TV.

Carroll told fellow lawmakers on Monday that the first time he and Morrissey sit down to talk will be awkward, "but we have to start somewhere."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.