Vermont Republican Caught Soaking Democrat's Bag

Mary Morrissey's 'apology holds about as much water as my canvas bag,' says Jim Carroll
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2024 7:26 AM CDT

Beginning in January, Vermont state Rep. Jim Carroll began finding himself with a very wet bag. It was all so weird. He'd have no actual water in the bag of his belongings, then suddenly the fabric would be sopping. After a while, the Democrat began to suspect his colleague, Republican Rep. Mary Morrissey, who like him represents the city of Bennington. She'd been "nasty" to him for months, saying "demeaning things in front of other legislators," Carroll tells the Guardian. So he did a bit of sleuthing. For weeks, he secretly recorded footage of his tote bag hanging on a hook in the Statehouse hallway, just outside his committee room, and caught Morrissey in the act—twice.

One video shows Carroll, 62, checking the tote bag seconds before a woman appears and pours in a cup of water. Though the footage doesn't show the woman's face, others identified her as 67-year-old Morrissey, whose committee room is across the hall from Carroll's. "It's hard to understand why someone would stoop to that level," Republican state Rep. Mike Marcotte tells Seven Days. "It was jaw-dropping," adds Democratic state Rep. Angela Arsenault. "It was bizarre. Why? That's what I kept saying. Why?" Carroll says Morrissey initially claimed she only "flicked" water on the bag to remove a bug, per the Guardian. However, she eventually admitted to pouring water into the bag over the course of months, without explaining why, Carroll says.

Some suspect Morrissey's actions were related to Carroll's well-publicized drunk driving arrest at the Statehouse in February. Whatever the reason, House Speaker Jill Krowinski blocked Morrissey from serving on a key legislative committee, Seven Days reports. The House Ethics Panel also launched a confidential investigation. Morrissey apologized during a House session on Monday. "I am truly ashamed of my actions," she said, per But "her apology holds about as much water as my canvas bag," Carroll tells the Guardian, noting he's considering whether to pursue harassment charges. "He felt like he was losing his mind," Arsenault tells Seven Days. "And I think that was part of the purpose behind it." (More Vermont stories.)

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