Something rotten in New York

posted at 12:31 pm on September 2, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

We normally focus on political news at the national level here, but every once in a while a story congeals like scum on the surface of a state level pond which merits attention. Such is the case in New York State this summer. The tale actually began a while back, when an investigation into the , er… “affairs” of State Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) determined that he had sexually harassed two young, female staffers, leading to his censure on the Assembly floor. And if the story had stopped there it would hardly be unusual enough in Big Apple politics to merit a column.

But that event turned out to be the the pebble which started a series of ripples across the pond. Now we find out from the Wall Street Journal that more ethics investigations are underway, this time into the involvement of the Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver. It seems that Shelly didn’t want to bother the busy folks on the ethics committee when he first caught wind of this story and decided to settle things the old fashioned way.

Two groups filed a formal complaint Wednesday asking New York state’s ethics enforcement agency to investigate state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s handling of sexual-harassment complaints against a high-ranking lawmaker.

The National Organization for Women and Common Cause, a government transparency group, submitted the formal complaint, calling for a probe into Mr. Silver’s approval of a secret $100,000 taxpayer-funded payment to settle accusations by female employees against Assemblyman Vito Lopez.

That’s just lovely, isn’t it? In a state that’s already going broke, 100,000 taxpayer dollars get diverted to a secret slush fund to pay off the women in an attempt to keep Vito safe and sound in Brooklyn.

If you don’t live in New York, you might not be familiar with that name, but he’s a legend around here. The Republicans traditionally control the state senate (by a razor thin margin) but it’s not “the Democrats” who control the Assembly… it’s Sheldon Silver. And he’s held that body in lock-down for nearly two decades. He’s the most powerful Democrat in the state – even more so than the Governor, according to many accounts.

But wait… the trail of nasty deeds doesn’t stop there! Oh no, the state Attorney General had to get in on the act as well. Michael Goodman reports:

Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is trying to wiggle out of any responsibility for the secret payout. That won’t be easy because an e-mail trail shows his office helped Silver craft the agreement and the confidentiality clause.

It counts as big news that the Attorney General’s Office played any role in conspiring to hide from taxpayers such seedy deals. Are there other cases we should know about?

Why yes, Michael, there are. The DA in Brooklyn, Charles Hynes, had apparently been stonewalling any investigation into Vito’s dirty laundry until recently. It’s only now, with the full light of day shining on these activities and public pressure mounting that the investigation has been turned over to the Republican Staten Island DA, Dan Donovan.

New York City and Albany Democrats are currently fleeing like cockroaches when the kitchen light is switched on. It will be interesting to see how much further this one goes up the food chain, particularly this close to an election. Does this mean some of these seats are going to be switching over to the GOP column? Don’t kid yourself. This is New York. Charlie Rangel still has a job here, for Pete’s sake.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

…surprise?

KOOLAID2 on September 2, 2012 at 12:33 PM

I won’t move back to that state until there are serious changes there. Which aren’t likely to happen.
Pity, the Hudson Valley is a nice place to live.

rbj on September 2, 2012 at 12:34 PM

…guest speakers at the DNC?

KOOLAID2 on September 2, 2012 at 12:34 PM

I keep praying for the earthquake that sends both coasts somewhere other than here.

teejk on September 2, 2012 at 12:35 PM

NY State government, sounds like it’s as close as you can get to the mafia without drugs, prostitution and such.

LynnB74 on September 2, 2012 at 12:37 PM

“Something rotten in New York”
upperyeastside?

VegasRick on September 2, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Don’t kid yourself. This is New York. Charlie Rangel still has a job here, for Pete’s sake.

I’m not kidding myself. Its y’alls state. I’m just happy that the crooks we have are amateurs compared to y’alls crooked congress critters.

cozmo on September 2, 2012 at 12:39 PM

King Shelly is a the partner of a major personal injury and tort law firm. I am a peon personal injury attorney. 95% of of personal injury attorneys are robotic Democrats. Even, if, in the short-term, getting rid of Silver might cause some legislation, like “tort reform,” to pass, and hurt me professionally, I’d welcome it: New York needs a vibrant, not half-dead economy. The better the economy, the more accidents!

ParisParamus on September 2, 2012 at 12:40 PM

At least Joe Bruno is out of the picture.

mythicknight on September 2, 2012 at 12:41 PM

New York City and Chicago have one thing in common.

When it comes to politics, both stink to high holy heaven.

Though in the case of Chicago, it may wax a tad more odorous.

pilamaye on September 2, 2012 at 12:45 PM

It’s New York, why so surprised.

Strange voting tendencies but most of the average people I ran into were genuinely nice.

Bishop on September 2, 2012 at 12:45 PM

“Something rotten in New York”
upperyeastside?

VegasRick on September 2, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Nothingburger with cheese. All republican lies.

-upper yeast side

Lanceman on September 2, 2012 at 12:46 PM

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is very, very busy investigating Bain Capital for his DNC masters. This witch hunt will be covered extensively by the DNC lapdog media this fall.

philw1776 on September 2, 2012 at 12:48 PM

So Sheldon Silver is New York’s version of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, the most powerful Dem in Illinois who’s held the speakership for all but two years of the last three decades–even longer than Silver. Big blue states, big blue corruption, huge financial problems–and yet, they continue to hold on to their elected offices.

stukinIL4now on September 2, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Along with BJ, the Democrat congressional and Obama administration staffer who drugged and sexually assaulted women, just another scene from the Democrat’s “Predators on Women”

bayview on September 2, 2012 at 12:50 PM

DNCWOW

DNC’s war on women?

Don L on September 2, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Former Dem. Hill Staffer and Obama Admin. Official Accused of Drugging and Sexually Assaulting Women

Why not conflate these two stories as signs of the DEMOCRAT “War on Women”? If these two stories were about Republicans you can bet your a$$ that the Dems would do exactly that.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on September 2, 2012 at 12:53 PM

It’s New York, why so surprised.

Strange voting tendencies but most of the average people I ran into were genuinely nice.

Bishop on September 2, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Yup, California is the same way. Most people here are genuinely nice good caring people, who can’t seem to make a rational logical choice when it comes to voting.

SWalker on September 2, 2012 at 12:53 PM

His long-time girlfriend, Angela Battaglia, is Director of Housing for Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, and a member of the New York City Planning Commission. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vito_Lopez

I’d take a look at her finances.

Blake on September 2, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Somebody forgot to tell NY Dems that it’s the “GOP War on Women,” not business-as-usual.

The real shame of NY is that 19 Electoral Votes are wasted on a state with a historial Political Inclination Quotient of PIQ-43… far more liberal than even California (PIQ-47).

http://piqscore.com/new-york/

http://piqscore.com/california/

Between the two of them, Obama already has 27% of the votes he needs in the Electoral College. Pathetic. :-(

VastRightWingConspirator on September 2, 2012 at 12:55 PM

The party of perverts and baby killers…the people that care about the downtrodden…..sad and pathetic morally bankrupt sums it up……

crosshugger on September 2, 2012 at 12:55 PM

The NY AG office will be busy. This and the inquire into the Bain ‘tax fraud’…

Heh, couldn’t happen to a more deserving scum.

socalcon on September 2, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Dirtbaggery and corruption are resume enhancements for Democrats.

jnelchef on September 2, 2012 at 12:58 PM

*sigh*

magicbeans on September 2, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Silver is a Democrat, I presume. The NOW and Common Cause filing complaints against a Democrat?! Is that allowed?

curved space on September 2, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Vito: Democrat rising star

petefrt on September 2, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Communist Red-on-Communist Red discord – I love it.

Steve Eggleston on September 2, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Can someone run down to Staples and purchase a few more extra empty chairs.

hillsoftx on September 2, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Though in the case of Chicago, it may wax a tad more odorous.

pilamaye on September 2, 2012 at 12:45 PM

You got that right. We have people getting shot more often than in war zones.

wolfsDad on September 2, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Hey Jazz, it’s Michael Goodwin not Goodman. And Vito comes from a very long line of neighborhood guys in Bushwick. Back in the days of community control minorities used the local school districts the way Tammany used the clubhouses.Vito was mentored back then by Tito Velez a community board member and local pol who was suspected of having a rival whacked in broad daylight. Vito and Tito funneled school funds to pet projects that served no one while teachers, like my wife, were forced to buy looseleaf, notebooks, and pencils and crayons for the kids because the schools had no supplies.If anyone ever gets the goods on Vito lopez a lot of pols are going to be put on suicide watch because he knows too much about the sewer NYC politics has been since the days of Lindsay.

xkaydet65 on September 2, 2012 at 1:21 PM

…just a few more ‘chairs’ to talk too!

KOOLAID2 on September 2, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Starting Monday the media will have nonstop coverage of this corruption & War on Women. Oh wait it’s a (D)

redridinghood on September 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM

the food chain, particularly this close to an election. Does this mean some of these seats are going to be switching over to the GOP column? Don’t kid yourself. This is New York. Charlie Rangel still has a job here, for Pete’s sake

Charlie Rangel’s district includes Harlem, that’s as lucky a black candidate dude can get :)… But Weiner lost his seat in a traditiomal democratic district in Brooklyn (or was it Queens), due mainly to the local Jewish vote, remember?

jimver on September 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I won’t move back to that state until there are serious changes there. Which aren’t likely to happen.
Pity, the Hudson Valley is a nice place to live.

rbj on September 2, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Mirrors my feelings about California and the Sacramento Vally.

Count to 10 on September 2, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Am I the only one who is outraged at the paltry sum that is to be split between the two female victims. Dems really are cheap SOBs.

On the other hand, it’s not just New York that stinks. Things are pretty bad all over. The “undocubus” just rolled into Charlotte, free as a bird.

bloggless on September 2, 2012 at 1:29 PM

……so glad I’m moving out of this state.

Cyhort on September 2, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Jazz: Isn’t Silver the guy who its been reported is getting something upwards of $1,000,000 a year from a law firm in order to provide them with political advice?

Fred 2 on September 2, 2012 at 1:50 PM

On the other hand, it’s not just New York that stinks. Things are pretty bad all over. The “undocubus” just rolled into Charlotte, free as a bird.

bloggless on September 2, 2012 at 1:29 PM

I hope Romney’s future AG is jotting the names down. I want these people in the first track to leave for Mexico in January 2013. The second truck, their ACLU attorneys will join them.

Archivarix on September 2, 2012 at 1:53 PM

As a ex-NY’er I can only say: Why is anyone suprised.

But Jazz, you hit the story in the right places. NYC/NYS political structure is as institutionally corrupt as Chicago, Louisiana, Massachusetts and California…the difference is, we have WAY nicer delicatessens here, and the pizzas CAN’T be beat.

Silver IS the most powerful Dem in the state (outside of Hillary/Bill) but his power is mostly downstate…Upstate NY tends to lean Red, even though they suffer from the downstate idiots.

How deep will this go? Well, if they’re already naming Silver and Hynes from the Brooklyn DA’s office (BTW, Brooklyn is big enough alone to be it’s own “City”, so imagine the political Machine in place) then heads *will* roll…but to your point, unless you shine ALOT of light on it, even if this goes to the Govs office as culpable, the only peon that will get the axe will be…the Brooklyn DA.

Not Silver or Cuomo will see jail time or censure unless the Feds step in, and how likely will THAT be?

BTW, for those that are wondering…the last Republican with that much pull that was in NY office was surprisingly enough “Big” Al Demato..right now, Rep Peter King (LI, R) is as close as your going to get to leading the charge to get this out to the people.

Pop the popcorn, crack open a beer and pass the Dutch on the left hand side…this is going to be…

…wait for it….

EPIC!

BlaxPac on September 2, 2012 at 1:54 PM

I always wondered what it was going to take to make you lunkheads wake up to the fact that NYS is dirty, dirty, dirty.

Do the names Rangel, Weiner and Spitzer mean anything at all to you? (Hint: Contrary to what you might believe, it’s NOT a law firm)

Mr. Grump on September 2, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Mr. Grump on September 2, 2012 at 1:56 PM

As compared to the organized crim…err, political party that’s in control of Chicago and Massachusetts,…

Remember, Illinois had a sitting Gov just recently convicted of “selling” the Senatorial seat of the current POTUS….the last NY Gov got caught dipping his pen in a rented female inkwell.

Massachusetts had FOUR Speakers in their State house arrested and either doing time or were chased out of politics entirely for millions of dollars in graft and “Hack” crony politics….the closest NY has come is that Rangel is still in office, albeit MAYBE the last term of his career.

I got no love for the fever swamp NYC has become (Damn I miss Rudy!) but by no means are they the ONLY ones suffering from Corruption-itis.

BlaxPac on September 2, 2012 at 2:21 PM

Don’t kid yourself. This is New York. Charlie Rangel still has a job here, for Pete’s sake.

Says it all.

Cleombrotus on September 2, 2012 at 2:31 PM

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is very, very busy investigating Bain Capital for his DNC masters. This witch hunt will be covered extensively by the DNC lapdog media this fall.

philw1776 on September 2, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Needs repeating. The Bain thing is on the front page at HuffPo, but the sexual harassment coverup is being covered up.

juliesa on September 2, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Got out in 1981 upstate….the only people left are government workers and the welfare crowd…never will change..

Hojczyk on September 2, 2012 at 2:46 PM

The DNC’s War on Women continues.

If any women are hading to Charlotte to protest in brain costumes, could they please remind the DNC and the media that Hilary had the most Democratic primary votes in 2008? The men of the DNC stole the presidency from women in 2008.

talkingpoints on September 2, 2012 at 3:17 PM

As long as that festering boil on the world’s buttocks exists (NYC) nothing changes. Left NY and never want to go back. You get what you vote for, they want free stuff, then youhave to pucker up and ki$$ some azz. Too bad lots of hard working, good folks caught in the American communisr country known as New York.

stormridercx4 on September 2, 2012 at 4:19 PM

There’s a big effort grooming Andrew to run in 2016. Many things are changing here in New York State that are not in the news. The media is the same here as it is in all the blue states. Check on the compensation cases here and the funds that at one time were set aside for these cases and while you’re at it check on the compensation lawyers who are leaving the State in droves. Both are disappearing.

mixplix on September 2, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Too bad there isn’t an effective opposition party in NY to take advantage of this disaster.
Perhaps when Mitt wins, he’ll task some of his organizational geniuses to the problem. One thing I’ve noticed in NY conservative politics, such as it is, no one thinks long term, and no one tries to build the party or the movement. People aren’t monolithically liberal, they just don’t have any decent choices.

Iblis on September 2, 2012 at 5:57 PM

FYI, Shelly Silver has the support of establishment Democrats, but there’s a healthy undercurrent of reformist moderate Democrats. If Shelly falls, it’ll inure to the benefit of that group, which has been impatiently waiting in the wings for years now.

Source: friends with reformist Assemblymembers and staffers.

Marius23 on September 2, 2012 at 10:50 PM

Charlie’s voters are loyal –
When they’re bought, they stay bought.
The same cannot be said for other areas of NYS/NYC (I hope).

Another Drew on September 3, 2012 at 1:29 PM

BlaxPac on September 2, 2012 at 2:21 PM

You’re right, of course, but aren’t you glad your cancer is only stage two instead of stage four?

Mr. Grump on September 3, 2012 at 1:39 PM