Sheldon Silver is the leader of the Democrat-controlled Assembly in Albany, and he’s the leader of New York’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Oh, and he’s also embroiled in a taxpayer-funded payoff of a sexual harassment scandal. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who won’t be at the convention until Thursday, didn’t have much to say on the matter. Some called for Silver to play a less prominent role at the convention, but he was having none of it. He thinks he’s above reproach.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is holding fast to his high-profile role at the Democratic National Convention, despite swirling controversy over his handling of sexual-harassment accusations against Vito Lopez.
On Monday, before the convention begins in earnest, Silver will host an invite-only dinner at a Charlotte, N.C., kosher restaurant. And at a breakfast during Dem week he is expected to give an address to the New York delegation that he himself heads.
Most importantly, he is set to announce from the convention floor the state delegation’s support of President Obama during the roll call — an honor he enjoyed four years ago.
“Everything is as planned,” Silver spokesman Michael Whyland said Sunday. “Nothing has changed.” (Read More)
So, what did Silver do? I’m glad you asked.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver continued a damage control operation Wednesday after the outcry over his handling of sexual harassment allegations against Assemblyman Vito Lopez, and Silver’s decision to quietly settle an earlier complaint against the Brooklyn Democrat with a $103,000 payment.
On Tuesday, Silver apologized for reaching the secret deal, but claimed it prevented him from bringing the allegations to the Assembly’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Guidance. The committee censured Lopez last week and stripped him of his seniority and its legislative perks.
But the Silver mea culpa earned a rebuke Wednesday from nationally known lawyer Gloria Allred, who represented the woman in the confidential settlement. Allred claimed there was nothing in the agreement, reached in June, that precluded Silver from taking the complaint to the ethics panel.
“Mr. Silver has to shift his priorities. The legislators are elected officials. Their job is not to sexually harass women,” Allred said in a statement. (Read More)
That $103,000 was taxpayer Monday, by the way. Even a NY NOW branch has raised questions about this, but there hasn’t been much media coverage outside of the state. Not that Republicans aren’t trying – NY GOP Chairman Ed Cox released another statement today calling out Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their silence.
“It is deeply disappointing that New York Democrats in Charlotte, like U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, have remained utterly silent about the attempted sexual assault cover-ups perpetrated by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Indeed, Mr. Silver is serving as the head of the New York delegation at the Democratic National Convention, without a peep from Ms. Gillibrand or her fellow delegates. That is an embarrassment to our state.
“While Ms. Gillibrand has continued to promulgate the term ‘War on Women,’ it appears the only ‘War on Women’ in Albany is against female Assembly staff members.
“Mr. Silver has established a clear pattern of covering up sexual crimes committed against female staff members by his political colleagues. He must not be allowed to remain Speaker. I urge New York Democrats — especially those like Ms. Gillibrand, who purport to stand up for women, to join me in calling on Mr. Silver to step aside as Speaker.
“Continued silence from the Democratic delegation in Charlotte is unacceptable.”
New York Democrats are waging a war on women, and New York taxpayers are paying for it. Someone alert the media!