Rep. Morgan responds to claims of boozing at RI Statehouse

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A freshman Rhode Island lawmaker made national headlines earlier this week when she claimed some state legislators were drinking while considering bills.

In a radio interview on Tuesday, Providence Democratic Rep. Moira Walsh said she was shocked by the “insane amount of drinking” that goes on at the Statehouse.

Hours after making those eyebrow-raising allegations, Walsh walked back her comments and told reporters she meant the drinking was happening at fundraisers.

When asked if she’s ever witnessed drinking during an active session at the Statehouse, House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan responded simply: “no.”

During a taping of WPRI 12’s Newsmakers on Friday, Rep. Morgan, R-West Warwick, said she’s never seen what Walsh claimed were “file cabinets full of booze.”

“I just don’t see it,” she stated. “Could somebody, after session, go and have a beer or glass of wine? Sure they could. But not while they’re legislating, not during the session, not before the session.”

“Most of us, all of us, really take it seriously that we affect people’s lives,” Morgan added.

Morgan said lawmakers often socialize at campaign fundraisers. Some have called for a moratorium on those types of events while the General Assembly is in session but Morgan disagrees, saying they’re valuable for networking and promoting one’s legislation.

Click here to watch the full interview with Rep. Patricia Morgan or watch Newsmakers this Sunday at 5:30 a.m. on WPRI 12 or at 10 a.m. on Fox Providence.