Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver’s office released a statement late Thursday suggesting for the first time that disgraced Assemblyman Vito Lopez could be expelled from office following the damning Joint Commission on Public Ethics report.
Per the statement, Mr. Silver intends to introduce a resolution tomorrow asking the Assembly’s Ethics & Guidance Committee to “recommend appropriate sanctions including expulsion” against Mr. Lopez following the report, which detailed what City Council Speaker Christine Quinn described as “nauseating” conduct with young female staffers.
Although the New York Post ran a front-page story today reporting that Governor Andrew Cuomo is seriously considering a coup d’etat against influential Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, the governor himself is denying any such scheme exists.
“It is wholly up to the legislative bodies to select a leader,” Mr. Cuomo said on The Capitol Pressroom this morning. “I would never, even for a moment, try to influence that decision.”
CHARLOTTE, NC — Politicker ran into former Governor David Paterson while he was working the room inside the CNN Grill at the DNC Wednesday and we asked him about all of the drama that surrounded the New York delegation at the convention. Mr. Paterson heaped praise upon Mr. Cuomo and the delegation’s leader, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and he had harsh words for one of their critics,bat-wielding 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino.
“Carl Paladino should take that bat and hit himself in the head with it, it would do us all a favor,” said Mr. Paterson.
CHARLOTTE, NC — Last night, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was cut off as he was giving a lengthy speech delivering the New York delegation’s votes at the Democratic National Convention. This morning, Politicker asked Mr. Silver how it felt to have his speech cut short when we saw him at the New York delegation breakfast.
“I wasn’t expecting that and, you know, we’re a big state, we have a lot of votes and there’s a lot to say,” Mr. Silver said.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s office is not impressed with James O’Keefe’s latest hidden camera video. Mr. O’Keefe, a controversial conservative activist, posed as an executive with a do-nothing company in the clip and met with a pair of union officials in New York asking whether they could use their political connections to help him secure environmental grants for simply digging and re-filling holes in the dirt. The men Mr. O’Keefe spoke to, John Hutchings of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, former assemblyman Ronald Tocci and Mr. Tocci’s brother, Anthony Tocci, describe how they have lobbyists who help them “push our agenda through.” They specifically name several elected officials they claim are friendly to them; Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressmen Eliot Engel and Jerry Nadler and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Mr. Silver’s spokesman, Michael Whyland, told us Mr. O’Keefe’s video shouldn’t be treated as serious journalism.
“This is not reporting. This is not journalism. It doesn’t even rise to the level of a comic strip. This is the kind of stuff that gives honest reporters a bad name,” Mr. Whyland said.
The latest video from controversial conservative provocateur James O’Keefe’s “Project Veritas” implies unions and several big name New York politicians are colluding to earn state and federal contracts for do-nothing companies purporting to hire for so-called “environmental jobs.”
In the clip, Mr. O’Keefe portrays an executive for a business that literally digs ditches and fills them back up with more dirt. He visits with John Hutchings, whom he describes as a “director” of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, and former assemblyman Ronald Tocci and another man who apparently discuss how easy it is for them to use their lobbyists and political connections to get cash for businesses.
“When we go for a bill, you know, you’ve got to get approval of the Senate, and the Assembly and then the Governor’s got to sign that. We have a lobbyist for the Senate [Republicans], and we have a lobbyist for the Democrats and that’s how we try to push our agenda through,” Mr. Hutchings says in the video.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver held a press conference in the Red Room at the State Capitol to pat themselves on the back for reaching a budget agreement on time for the second straight year. On-time budgets have been approved in Albany just seven times in the last 37 years.
“This state government has come a very long way in a very short period of time. At one time, this state government was a joke. They were literally laughing about it on the late night shows, it was a point of ridicule for many, many years,” Governor Cuomo said. “We went from a model of dysfunction to I believe a model of function.”
Dominican Ambassador Roberto Saladin has thrown his support behind the push to create a new predominantly Latino Congressional district in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx. Mr. Saladin sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo last Tuesday describing the creation of the district as a “question of utmost importance” for the Dominican Diaspora that would “open the opportunity to elect a Congressman of Dominican origin to the U.S. Congress in Washington D.C.”
My Funny Valentine
Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed his relationship with the leaders of the Legislature; Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, during an appearance on Susan Arbetter’s radio show, Capitol Pressroom, this afternoon.
“People don’t understand the relationship between a governor and the legislature, or people just have a different lens for the relationship. The relationship is not based on love,” Governor Cuomo said. “Tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day, it’s not about chocolates, and candies and love. It is a functional, collegial relationship and there are different jobs between the governor and the Legislature.”
Governor Cuomo signed the Iran Divestment Act today. The new law, which was passed by the State Legislature Tuesday, will bar businesses from signing or renewing state or local government contracts if they provide goods, services or credit worth $20 million or more to Iran’s energy sector. It was backed by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
“This new law ensures that companies that invest in Iran’s energy sector do not do business with the State of New York,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement announcing the law’s passage. “I thank Majority Leader Skelos and Speaker Silver for their leadership and hard work on this important law.”