Legislators implicated in 'sting' breeze to reelection

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Vanessa L. Brown (upper left), Ronald G. Waters (upper right), Louise Bishop (lower left) and Michelle Brownlee (lower right). (Courtesy photos)

Despite allegations that they were caught on tape accepting cash, four Philadelphia Democratic legislators breezed to reelection Tuesday.

Three of the four implicated in a "sting" investigation had no opposition in the general election. The fourth faced only a candidate from the Green Party.

The four - State Reps. Vanessa L. Brown, Michelle Brownlee, Louise Bishop, and Ronald G. Waters - accepted money in 2010 and 2011 from an undercover operative in a sting investigation run by the state Attorney General's Office, according to sources and investigative documents. The four and their lawyers have either declined to comment or have said they did not do anything wrong.

Brown was the only one with an opponent: Green Party Chairman Glen David. She swamped him, winning by a better than 9-1 ratio. She was also the only one of the group to face opposition in the spring Democratic primary, in which she soundly defeated two opponents.

The probe was inherited by Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane, who shut it down last year as poorly managed.

After The Inquirer broke the news of Kane's decision earlier this year, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams reopened the case.

Last month, he brought bribery and conflict of interest charges against former Traffic Court Judge Thomasine Tynes, the fifth Democrat implicated in the sting. Prosecutors say Tynes accepted a $2,000 Tiffany bracelet from a lobbyist who was seeking a contract from the court.

The lobbyist, Tyron B. Ali, was working undercover for law enforcement officials and taped Tynes as she accepted the gift, prosecutors say. Through her lawyer, Tynes has said she did nothing wrong.