HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — The Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission is investigating allegations that four state lawmakers were caught in a cash-for-favors sting following complaints filed by citizen activist in March.
Gene Stilp on Monday distributed copies of an ethics commission letter addressed to him and dated Thursday. In it, it said the agency's investigative division "has initiated full investigations in relation to the complaints that you filed."
Stilp said he filed four complaints, one for each lawmaker, two days after The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported that the four Philadelphia Democrats were captured on tape accepting cash and gifts from a lobbyist working undercover for the state attorney general's office.
Rob Caruso, the ethics commission's executive director, said Monday that the agency otherwise does not discuss its investigations.
The ethics commission cannot impose criminal penalties, but it can fine public officials for violating state ethics laws and refer cases to law enforcement agencies for potential criminal prosecution.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane inherited the investigation when she took office in 2013, but has declined to press charges, saying the investigation was too flawed and poorly executed to win convictions.
However, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said last month that his office has empaneled a grand jury to revive the probe.