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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 fired the first salvo today in what he says will be an ongoing campaign against public corruption.
Cuomo was joined by a number of county district attorneys at a press conference at his Manhattan office today where he announced a push to create a "Public Trust Act" that would increase penalties for existing public corruption laws and establish three new criminal acts: bribing a public official, scheming to corrupt the government and failing to report corruption.
Legislators convicted of corruption charges would be banned from holding office and would not be able to do business with the state.
"The public expects honesty," Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said at the press conference, "and it's time our laws caught up with reality."
Asked by reporters why his proposal didn't include giving more power to the attorney general to investigate corruption, Cuomo said that today's announcement was "step one."