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NY Speaker’s Arrest Throws Legislature Into Turmoil

silTop Democratic lawmakers in New York are standing by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver after the longtime legislative leader was arrested on federal corruption charges.

The Manhattan Democrat was taken into custody Thursday at the FBI’s New York City office. He faces five counts including conspiracy and bribery.

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle emerged from a closed-door meeting of Democratic lawmakers to say he has faith in Silver — even though he said he hadn’t read the criminal complaint against him.

A small number of Democrats joined Republicans in calling for Silver’s resignation as speaker. Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said Silver’s troubles could cast a dark cloud over the Legislature.

The arrest comes just two weeks after lawmakers began their 2015 session. Silver was first appointed speaker in 1994.


2 Responses

  1. 1. It is interesting that a Democratic US Attorney obtained the indictment.

    2. He’s basically charged with a ” denying honest services” offense that might not survive appellate review. This is an area where the Justice Department has been overrreaching as of late. They don’t appear to be alledging a classical “quid pro quo” sort of bribe.

    3. Given that he is leader of one house of a legislature in which the other house is controlled by the other party, and that for most of the time he was Speaker the governor (who controls the executive branch) was a Republican, and that he is also charged for taking bribes pertaining to city programs in a city that had a Republican mayor – one might be a bit skeptical. WHy would you bribe him to do something he is incapable of doing (such as fixing a city tax bill or getting a Republican state official to do something).

    4. If it is illegal for a politician to be a “rainmaker” for a firm, they will be making mass arrests. It is legal for a politician to work for a lawfirm and that work is typically attracting clients, not the nitty gritty work of lawyering. The clients hire the firm due to the prestige of the politicians who is connected with the firm.

  2. It’s legal to be a “rainmaker”; but, it’s illegal for an Assemblyman not to disclose the income he received. I wonder if the IRS will be next in line to file charges of unreported income.

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