January 21, 2015
New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (R) was arrested on corruption charges this morning. In a press conference held in the 1pm hour in New York City, U.S. Attorney Preet Bahara said Silver is alleged to have taken millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.
Bahara wants to reopen the Moreland Commission files. Albany reporter Liz Benjamin from Time Warner Cable News says that the Republicans in the Assembly want Silver out, but that the Assembly Democrats want Silver to stay on in his job.
Assembly Republican leader Brian Kolb of Canandaigua and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R, Corning) want Silver out and want him out now. Palmesano told WLEA News that he cannot understand why the Assembly Democrats want Silver to stay on in spite of the five federal charges. “I find that troubling just because I do believe it is going to be a distraction, it is going to be a cloud that is over the head of the legislative session and the budget negotiations in particular.”
Assemblyman Joe Giglio told WLEA News that Silver used the government as his “own personal piggy bank”, and Giglio wonders why the state government let this go on so long that the federal government had to step in. “It’s amazing to me that conduct of that nature can go on so long undetected,” Giglio said in a phone interview with WLEA this afternoon.
Senator Cathy Young (R, Livingston/Allegany Counties issued the following statement:
“Sheldon Silver should resign his position immediately. His arrest has put him in a compromised position and it makes it incredibly difficult to negotiate the state budget or get meaningful legislation passed with this situation hanging over his head.”
For years on his weekday radio show, Assemblyman Bill Nojay has been complaining for years about silver being the most corrupt man in New York State politics. “Well, you know, I hate to be negative all the time about people,” Nojay told WLEA. “It did get a little repetitive to say that Sheldon Silver was the most corrupt man in New York politics, but it’s true!”