State Probes Philly Lawmakers Targeted in Abandoned Sting

One of three investigations now running.

AP Photo | Bradley C. Bower

AP Photo | Bradley C. Bower

The State Ethics Commission is examining four Philly-based lawmakers who reportedly took money in a sting operation later abandoned by Attorney General Kathleen Kane, one of three investigations to emerge from the matter.

The Patriot-News reports:

The Ethics Commission probe will run alongside a new grand jury investigation launched by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, and a state House Ethics Committee review of possible internal House rules violations.

Case records show that at least four lawmakers – including Reps. Ronald Waters, Vanessa Lowery Brown, Michelle Brownlee and Louis Williams Bishop, all Philadelphia Democrats – took payments totaling $16,750 from the informant between late 2010 and early 2012 and made no accounting for them in their campaign finance or ethics disclosures.

Under a State Ethics Commission review, the lawmakers involved could be subject to scrutiny for violations ranging from failing to properly account for gifts, to using their office for personal enrichment.

The commission has 360 days to complete its review. It can fine the lawmakers, or refer the case to prosecutors if it decides criminal charges are worthy.