FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Members Of Congress Playing Solitaire While In Session?
An image shared on Facebook more than 82,000 times claims that a picture of lawmakers playing solitaire while in session shows members of Congress.
“If this doesn’t get you fired up… I don’t know what will,” reads the caption.
The image shows Connecticut state lawmakers, not members of Congress.
The meme, which has been shared more than 82,000 times, features two legislators playing computer card games and another browsing a sports website while a colleague gives a speech. The caption accompanying the image suggests that the lawmakers are members of Congress.
“These are the folks that couldn’t get the budget out by Oct. 1, and are about to control your health care, cap and trade, and the list goes on and on,” reads the caption. “Should we buy them larger screen computers – or – a ticket home, permanently? This is one of their 3-DAY WORK WEEKS that we all pay for (salary is about $179,000 per year).”
The image does not, however, depict members of Congress using their computers for entertainment while in session. Taken by photographer Jessica Hill for The Associated Press, it actually shows Connecticut state legislators, according to its caption.
“House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, far right, speaks while colleagues play solitaire on their computers as the House convenes to vote on a new budget for the fiscal year in the Capitol, in Hartford, Conn., Monday, Aug., 31, 2009,” reads the caption.
Democratic state Rep. Jack Hennessy, one of the two lawmakers caught playing solitaire, publicly apologized after the photo started circulating, calling it “poor judgement.” (RELATED: Have Congressional Salaries Gone Up 231% In The Past 30 Years?)
The post’s claim that the pictured lawmakers make $179,000 per year doesn’t hold up either. Non-ranking members of Congress currently make $174,000 per year, according to a Congressional Research Service report. Meanwhile, base pay for rank-and-file Connecticut legislators is $28,000, according to a 2015 government report.
The photograph has been falsely attributed to Congress and various state legislatures since 2009, according to Snopes.