Federal Prosecutors Allege Silver’s Corruption of Albany Included Government Favors for Mistresses
A prosecution document unsealed last Friday purports to show that convicted former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had at least two extramarital affairs that further corrupted state government, one with a lobbyist who frequently represented clients interested in pending legislation and another with a woman who was hired at a succession of state jobs for which critics say she was under qualified, according to reporting by the New York Law Journal and other media outlets.
In comments posted online at the NYLJ website, at least three readers questioned whether septuagenarian Silver was even capable of carrying on as described, whether alleged extramarital affairs were fair game for federal prosecutors, and whether the NYLJ’s reporting of the salacious news was but a prurient bid for circulation.
ATRA director of communications Darren McKinney is no fan of gratuitous prurience, but he today rebutted those readers with a comment of his own, arguing that the additional corruption of state government entailed by the alleged affairs warrants public scrutiny:
Jerry, Gary and Ed seem to protest too much here. History makes clear that regardless of a corrupt megalomaniacal alpha male’s age, he’ll desperately work to maintain his own delusions of virility, even if it means . . . that he must compromise the integrity of government — voters and taxpayers be damned.
. . . In addition to the corruption for which he was convicted, [Silver] also promoted the careers of judges who advantaged plaintiffs’ lawyers generally and the asbestos shysters who dominate NYCAL specifically. Additionally, Silver was surely rewarded for strangling in the cradle every meaningful tort reform bill that ever managed to emerge from a legislative committee in Albany. And if that weren’t enough corruption for one political career, he also apparently felt entitled to a little extracurricular action on the side for 1) promoting or killing additional bills specified by a particular lobbyist and 2) giving away a series of state jobs to a reportedly under qualified applicant.
Bottom line: Prosecutors had every right to prepare this damning information as an answer to character evidence that Silver‘s defense team was expected to adduce. Now that it’s all over but the sentencing, voters and taxpayers have every right to know just how craven and self-serving Mr. Silver and the very special interests he catered to all these years were. Perhaps New York voters will choose their representatives more wisely in the future. But even if they don‘t, the NYLJ is righteous in its efforts to educate them about how they and their tax-dollars were repeatedly disrespected.
Silver’s sentencing, at which he could conceivably be condemned to up to 130 years in prison, has been rescheduled for May 12.