Headline of the Day: “Sheldon-come-lately”
Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver‘s late-night call to expel disgraced Assemblymen Vito Lopez from office hasn’t helped to temper calls for his head. But most Democratic leaders seem unlikely to push for disciplinary action against the speaker. Gov. Andrew Cu0mo told reporters yesterday he didn’t think it was his place “to say who the speaker is and who the speaker should be.” He added: “I don’t see any comparison between what Vito Lopez and what Shelly Silver did … There is a magnitude of difference.”
On an unrelated note, the governor seems to be raking in the green. His most recent finance disclosure statement, made public Thursday, shows he made between $1.75 million and $2 million. The bulk of his assets are reportedly managed by a blind trust at AMG National Trust Bank.
And Stay out!
Describing his conduct as “nauseating,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn again called on disgraced Assemblyman Vito Lopez to resign from office, but held her fire when it came to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
A day after the release of a scathing report detailing Mr. Lopez’s alleged sexual harassment of numerous young female staffers, Ms. Quinn said Mr. Lopez had no business serving in elected office–much less running for the City Council–and urged New Yorkers to do anything they can to keep him out of City Hall.
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.”
As has been well-reported throughout New York State, Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver is currently in hot water for approving a secret settlement that protected his once-powerful colleague Vito Lopez from sexual harassment allegations. But when additional, credible allegations continued to emerge, Mr. Silver was eventually forced to strip Mr. Lopez of his seniority and urge him to resign from office. Nevertheless, the scandal raised serious questions as to whether a confidentiality provision was ever appropriate, especially one financed by over a hundred thousand dollars of public funds.
when a secret is a 'secret'
Governor Andrew Cuomo, as he is often wont to do when thorny issues plague Albany, went on New York Post columnist Fred Dicker’s radio show this morning, where he spent a decent amount of time defending Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver. Mr. Silver, of course, is currently in hot water for authorizing a confidential settlement that shelved sexual harassment claims against his powerful colleague Vito Lopez, only to see credible sexual harassment allegations later emerge to create much controversy around the initial deal. On Mr. Dicker’s show, Mr. Cuomo took umbrage with the use of the phrase “secret deal” to describe Mr. Silver’s move.
“Let the process run, I understand the appetite to further the story, but let the process run and let the facts come out,” he said, switching to a slow, mocking voice to describe newspaper headlines. “‘Secret Deal’ was the initial headline. ‘Sheldon Silver signs secret deal.’ Poetic, beautiful. Yeah, except it wasn’t true and it wasn’t accurate and it wasn’t right. It wasn’t a ‘secret deal.’”
it is what it is
The Democrats in the State Assembly are rallying around Speaker Shelly Silver as his feeling the heat from Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s sexual harassment scandal and the discovery that Mr. Silver authorized over $100,000 in state funds to be spent on confidential settlements for prior harassment claims. And you can count Assemblyman Keith Wright, the head of both the Manhattan and state Democratic Parties, among Mr. Silver’s supporters, although not passionately so to the press.
Yesterday evening, the Politicker approached Mr. Wright outside the Midtown meeting where New York Democrats were preparing to select their official delegates for President Barack Obama’s reelection, first inquiring what he made of the situation with Mr. Lopez, who chairs the neighboring Brooklyn Democratic Party. Mr. Wright responded with a nonverbal shrug.
Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, who’s come under heat since revelations emerged that he used over $100,000 taxpayer money to confidentially settle a sexual harassment claim against Assemblyman Vito Lopez, issued a statement this evening expressing regret over the way it was handled. After settling that claim, of course, two more staffers of Mr. Lopez presented sexual harassment charges, which were found to be credible and led to his downfall as chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party.
Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver might not really be in any electoral trouble in his heavily Democratic district, but that doesn’t mean everyone thinks he should be unopposed. Accordingly, an individual named Wave Fay Chan filed against Mr. Silver today.
Not much is known about Mr. Chan, but someone matching his name and Lower East Side residency does seemed to be involved in the group Tea Party 365 .
“I love my country,” he told the New York Daily News. “I fear my government.”
Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver might be aggressively pushing for an increase to New York State’s minimum wage, but Majority Leader Dean Skelos threw a big bucket of cold water on the idea after a press conference on college affordability earlier today.
“Every single small businessperson, that I’ve had the opportunity to meet with and talk to, say they would have to lay off people because of these additional costs,” he said. “To me, the moral imperative is to have as many people working as possible.”
Earlier today, Assembly Speaker Sheldon introduced a bill that would lead to the public financing of political campaigns in New York State; Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been supportive of a public model for campaign financing but has been pushing a more modest bill that would lower contribution limits and increase enforcement.
Asked about Speaker Silver’s bill at a press avail in Battery Park City yesterday, Mr. Cuomo demurred.
“I haven’t seen his bill. I support campaign finance,” Mr. Cuomo said. “I have been pushing it very hard all throughout the session and we have a few weeks left and I am hopeful that we will get something done, but I haven’t gone through the Speaker’s bill.”