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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has faced a chorus of calls for his resignation for his handling of the Assemblyman Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal. Editorial boards, good government groups and Republican legislators have either demanded Silver step down or hold a leadership vote in the Assembly. A broader chorus is calling for Lopez's resignation.
Silver seems to be paying attention as his spokesman Michael Wyland issued a statement tonight saying that Silver, "intends to draft and introduce a resolution tomorrow, to be voted on Monday, to ask the Ethics & Guidance Committee to consider the full JCOPE report and to recommend appropriate sanctions including expulsion of Assemblymember Lopez."
Silver has called for Lopez to step down several times.
Earlier today Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters that if Lopez continues to refuse to resign, "I think the body should expel him. I think they should make a statement that says we do not tolerate this in our house."
Cuomo defended Silver. "I don’t see any comparison between what Vito Lopez and what Shelly Silver did,” Cuomo said. “There is a magnitude of difference," Cuomo said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants everyone to stop staring at the car crash that has been the string of federal indictments against sitting Albany legislators and get back to their jobs.
"We got most of our work done in the budget and before the budget, which is usually the way, but there items that we have left for this session and on top of it because of the charges of the prosecutors we’re using it as an opportunity to pass the reform agenda. The reform agenda is new and is complicated,” Cuomo told Susan Arbetter on Capitol Pressroom this morning. ”The Republicans made their point again they’re against public financing, but there are other points of the reform agenda aslo."
But talk around legislative circles is that the Senate is loathe to be in Albany because it doesn't want to be pressured into doing Cuomo's bidding.
A number of legislators and advocates think this year could be less productive than last year which was the least-productive in recent Albany history.
Today's Senate session was cancelled in honor of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot and, according to Republican spokesman Scott Reif, to save taxpayers money.
“I am confident that the authorities will find, if they have not already done so, that I have engaged in no wrongdoing whatsoever,” state Sen. Jose Peralta said in a statement in response to revelations that he was one of nine people wiretapped by convicted Sen. Shirley Huntley.
Sen. Eric Adams and Councilman Ruben Wills both made statements saying they were not being investigated or not aware of any investigations.
Peralta's statement does not make the same claim.
“I have not been contacted about any investigation. I believe deeply in transparency and the pursuit of justice — and that is why I committed 20 years of my life to law enforcement,” Adams said in a statement. “I am more than willing to help with any investigation.”
You can see video of Wills' statement here.
Sen. Shirley Huntley was having trouble with the FBI so she called up her colleagues and had them over to her house — to wiretap them.
According to court documents, Huntley was hoping to win favor with prosecutors when it came to her corruption case.
Today a judge unsealed Huntley's sentencing document unveiling a list of those she helped record for the FBI. They include several sitting Democratic Senators, a couple political consultants and a sitting Council member. Prosecutors have indicated that at least one of the people named on the list is not under investigation.
So who are these lawmakers and political operatives?
Lets start with the usual suspects: Sens. John Sampson of Brooklyn and Malcolm Smith of Queens.
The State Legislature seems to be a in rush to get out of town.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon SIlver has cancelled today's scheduled session. "Why?" you ask. Well, for ethics training of course!
Sort of. The Assembly has been scheduled to undergo ethics training today for sometime but the session was going to go on later in the day.
However, it was decided the ethics training could run late.
Meanwhile, the Senate has called off session for Monday and Tuesday citing the Jewish Holiday Pesach Sheni.