State Reps. Louise Williams Bishop and Michelle Brownlee and former state Rep. Harold James are facing grand jury charges, Williams announced Tuesday morning. All three politicians are Philadelphia Democrats, like Williams.
Today’s announcement brings the total number of politicians Williams’ office has brought charges against to six. Former Traffic Court Judge Thomasine Tynes and state Reps. Ronald G. Waters and Vanessa Lowery Brown were also arrested and charged in accordance with the investigation.
Williams adopted this three-year sting investigation after it was abandoned by Attorney General Kathleen Kane. The Inquirer reported in March that Kane had secretly ended the investigation. Kane claimed in a statement afterwards that the investigation was “deeply flawed” and racially focused with inadequate evidence.
The Philly DA dismissed Kane’s charges of racism and pledged to take up the case.
The six politicians — all African American — have been accused of accepting money from lobbyists in exchange for votes. Tynes pleaded guilty to a conflict-of-interest charge, and Waters and Brown admitted to illegally accepting money before a grand jury.
In addition, Brownlee and James have already admitted to their wrongdoing, Williams said Tuesday.
Bishop, however, has refused questions and denied accepting any money.
The six politicians were taped accepting cash from lobbyist Tyron Ali, according to investigation documents obtained by the Inquirer.