Local legislators get gifts and trips from lobbyists

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - From fancy dinners to expensive trips, Virginia legislators were wined and dined in 2010. It is completely legal under Virginia law, but the $250 thousand worth of gifts that G.A. members took in is public record.

So we took a look at the list to find out what our local leaders were up to.

The top two groups that donated in kind gifts to Virginia lawmakers was the American Turkish Friendship Association and Virginia Uranium.

The local legislator who received the most in gifts benefited from both groups.

Chesterfield Sen. John Watkins received more than $12 thousand in gifts.  Watkins made two trips, one to France on behalf of Virginia Uranium that cost more than $9,000, and $2,500 trip to Turkey. That trip was funded by the American Turkish Friendship Association.

But, Watkins wasn't the only one who made a Turkish trip,

Del. Betsy Carr also went overseas on the association's dime. It was part of her $4,000 in gifts from lobbyists.

Many General Assembly make trips to conferences- paid for by the conference officials.

Del. Kirk Cox made a $2,000 trip paid for by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Sen. Henry Marsh and Don McEachin, made trips paid for by the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association.

Hanover Del. Chris peace, who received more than $1,000 in gifts, took a $500 trip on the National Council of State Legislators.

Rounding out the cash given in gifts to Central Virginia lawmakers:

Henrico Del. John O'Bannon took in $550 in gifts, Sen. Walter Stoch $450, Henrico Del. Bill Janis $171, and finally Sen. Steve Martin $115.

You can see the full list, compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project on our political blog, DecisionVirginia.com.

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