Did Bucks County legislator get a gift from Tyron B. Ali?

Rep. John T. Galloway. Those familar with the sting say he got tickets to the Phillies.
Rep. John T. Galloway. Those familar with the sting say he got tickets to the Phillies.
Posted: March 19, 2014

In the spring of 2011, the Phillies were leading the National League East.

To the people running a controversial "sting" operation at the time, it was more than a hot pennant race.

According to people familiar with the investigation, it was an opportunity to cement a bond between a lobbyist working undercover for the Attorney General's Office and a suburban legislator.

They say investigators spent about $350 on a pair of tickets behind home plate at Citizens Bank Park, during the middle of the Phillies' 257-game home sellout streak, and gave them to operative Tyron B. Ali to bestow upon State Rep. John T. Galloway, a Bucks County Democrat.

Galloway said he never accepted tickets from Ali.

On Monday, he said he hasn't gone to a baseball game in years.

He said he remembered buying two Phillies tickets "a few years ago" and giving them to his wife and sister. He said he paid $40 each for the tickets. He said he can't remember who sold him the tickets.

People familiar with the sting say Ali gave Galloway the tickets and Galloway later texted to thank him.

"Game was awesome :-)," Galloway wrote, according to people who read the text.

The sources said Galloway was among the Harrisburg political figures whom Ali approached as he carried out his undercover role.

Officials say eight people accepted cash, money orders, or gifts from Ali from 2010 to 2012.

After Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane took office in January 2013, she shut down the investigation without filing any charges.

In explaining her decision, Kane has said she did so in part because she believed the undercover operation may have been tainted by racism. She has suggested that investigators set out to target only African Americans. Galloway is white.

In an interview Monday in Harrisburg, Galloway said the tickets he gave his wife and sister were not behind home plate - he said he would have remembered that - but were on the first base side, 500 level.

Shown a picture of Ali, Galloway said he still could not remember him.

"No," he said, shaking his head.

As The Inquirer reported Sunday, people familiar with the investigation say Ali gave cash or money orders to four other state representatives, all Philadelphia Democrats and all African American. Ali also gave a $2,000 Tiffany bracelet to the then-president judge of Philadelphia Traffic Court, also an African American.

In a statement Sunday on the aborted case, Kane provided a statistical analysis of those who were taped during the 113 recording sessions carried out by Ali between 2010 and 2012.

In all but two of the tapes, she said, those recorded were either African American or Latino.

Galloway, 54, first elected in 2006 to represent the Levittown-centered district, is serving his fourth two-year term.

According to sources, Ali met with Galloway in May 2011 in a Harrisburg bar and talked baseball. Galloway, they said, told Ali he would love to take his mother to a Phillies game.

In the text to Ali after the game, the sources said, Galloway also wrote about the ticket purchase, "are you reporting it? If so it is over 250."

Galloway's question may have been a reference to a rule requiring lobbyists to report certain expenses.

Under separate rules, state legislators must list on annual financial-disclosure forms any gifts worth more than $250, together with information about who gave them.

Galloway, in his disclosure report for 2011, checked a box for "none" in the part of the form for reporting gifts.

In the interview, he said he generally does not accept gifts, but that if someone does give him something, he makes sure to ask what it is worth so that he can report it on his annual statements of financial interest if it exceeds $250.

"Honestly, if people approach me with tickets, I try to make sure I pay for them, and I try to make sure they are reported," he said.


cmccoy@phillynews.com

215-854-4821 @CraigRMcCoy

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