A man we’ve known to be corrupt, with far too much power, and wanted deposed for so long, is finally gone, and that’s all that really matters thank you Preet Bharara!
While we have no desire to bring you comments from others we feel are also corrupt such as Cuomo, Heastie, or deBlasio; nor from idiots clamoring for reform in order to establish public financing (forcing tax payer dollars to pay for corrupt activities more than they already do), or a full time legislature (which would promote having even more career politicism than we already have), we will share with you the following:
Times Union Sheldon Silver verdict React-O-Mat™
By Matthew Hamilton on November 30, 2015 at 3:50 PM
The Sheldon Silver guilty verdict generated immediate reaction on Twitter and via email from various groups and public officials. That reaction follows:
From U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara: Today, Sheldon Silver got justice, and at long last, so did the people of New York.
From Common Cause Executive Director Susan Lerner: Today’s verdict finding Sheldon Silver guilty of public corruption on all counts is a scathing indication that Albany insiders have lost touch with reality. We find it telling that it took a federal prosecutor, and not New York State’s own watchdog system, to call out the deep-seated corruption and sense of entitlement that allows a leader to use his public office for private gain. Thankfully, the jury didn’t buy tired explanations that self-dealing and back-scratching are just “business as usual.” The public is tired of the ever-expanding litany of scandals and this must be a wake-up call to the leadership in Albany that real, comprehensive solutions must be enacted for the few who have let power go to their heads. The majority of legislators work full-time for the people; they should move quickly to bring New York’s ethics laws up to the standards expected by the public. This is no time for piece-meal ethics reform. The people of New York are past due for a government for the people and by the people.
From Citizens Union: In response to the welcomed decision finding former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver guilty, Citizens Union calls upon the legislature to meet in special session and deal once and for all with the problem of public corruption in state government. Legislators need to address the problem of using their public posts for private gain. New Yorkers want the self-dealing to end now.
We have called for specific, detailed legislative and process reforms in five important areas:
1. Reforming legislative compensation;
2. Limiting the influence of dark money campaign contributions and ending government spending that takes place in the shadows;
3. Reforming ethics oversight and enforcement by changing JCOPE’s structure, scope, and voting procedures;
4. Strengthening financial reporting disclosure requirements for public officers; and
5. Streamlining and standardizing disclosure of lobbying activity.
Since 2000, 32 state legislators have left office due to criminal or ethical issues and 1 more has been indicted, for a total of 33 legislators who have abused the public trust according to Citizens Union’s Corruption Tracker. New Yorkers deserve sweeping changes to clean up Albany, not statements by our leaders that attempt to sweep this issue under the rug.
We call for immediate action by the governor and legislature on comprehensive ethics reform. New York must no longer rely on federal prosecutors to do the lion’s share of ethics oversight for our state.
From NYPIRG: A political earthquake has hit Albany. This is a stinging rebuke to the “Albany business as usual” defense and a clarion call to clean up state ethics .
From New York City Public Advocate Letitia James:
Today’s verdict may be the end of one, sad chapter. But it must also be the beginning of a new chapter, in which public services triumphs over greed, and in which fidelity to voters triumphs over addiction to power. Our State leaders must use this day to finally put in place badly needed reforms so New Yorkers can have a State government they can be proud of.
Hopefully this will be the tipping point at which New York’s political leadership will gets its heads out of the sand. Governor Cuomo must now call a special session devoted to ethics reform. (OSDB comment added: if only Cuomo weren’t so corrupt too!)
From Reclaim New York: The defense was as brazen and arrogant as the actions of the accused. New Yorkers aren’t as dumb as politicians like Silver often think they are. The argument that ‘everybody does it, so it’s okay’ smacks of kindergarten playtime, and New Yorkers won’t stand for it.All elected officials need to get the message.
From former Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino:
Good riddance Sheldon Silver. Emblematic of Albany corruption. Covered up rapes, committed fraud/extortion. In office 38 years. #TermLimits
From Assembly Republican Minority Leader Brian Kolb:
The jury has spoken – and quite loudly. Everyone in the State Capitol had better be listening.
From Assemblyman Michael Kearns, a Western New York Democrat: My position with regard to Mr. Silver has remained the same since May 21, 2013, when I called for his removal as Speaker and left the Democratic Conference with him as leader. He was unfit for leadership and membership in the New York State Assembly after covering up the sexual harassment of young female staffers by Assembly member Vito Lopez. He was unfit for membership then and has been rightfully removed from office today. These convictions and his subsequent removal confirmed my beliefs.”
It is unconscionable that the taxpayers of New York State will have to pay for Mr. Silver’s pension. Assembly Bill – A.7704 by Assemblyman Buchwald would have prevented this and I was proud to be a co-sponsor on that bill.” I look forward to real reform in Albany concerning the Assembly Rules, ethics reform in both houses and hopefully making it illegal to collect pension benefits after a member is convicted of corruption and crimes against the people.
From Republican Assemblyman Pete Lopez: Yesterday’s conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on corruption charges was a stroke for justice, sending the message that no one is above the law. As I have said before, it is both sad and unfortunate that we now have added Speaker Silver to the ever-growing list of state elected officials convicted of misusing their offices for personal gain, even as others are accused, pending court review, such as former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Events such as these continue to shake public confidence, and the distractions caused by these cases have made it more difficult for legislators to attend to the urgent priorities of our communities. These interruptions must stop. We have important work to be done and people with serious needs. As leaders and citizens, we must be focused on creating jobs, lifting people out of poverty, ensuring a sound education for our children, and more. People have had enough. How many more are we going to add to the list?
Sheldon Silver’s conviction must now be fuel for serious reform. With that said, it is time for the Legislature to take full measure of the controls and safeguards currently in place and improve on them to protect the public interest. Ultimately, this work must complement the checks-and-balances system put in place by our forefathers, and enable law enforcement and the court system to readily enforce existing laws as well as new laws that MUST be put in place in the near future. If we are to restore public confidence, we must move quickly and aggressively in the upcoming Legislative session. We cannot rest until this work is done and public confidence is restored. We are elected to represent the people based on their trust and confidence. ANY elected official, who betrays this trust, must be punished to the fullest extent of the law. I commend the investigators and the prosecution for their perseverance. They must continue their important work. Reform is imperative.
From Assembly Republican Conference member Gary Finch: Lincoln had a memorable way of explaining how real change can happen in our democracy. ‘Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.’ Today, twelve ordinary New Yorkers lit a spark by taking a stand against shadowy government and selfish politics. Every New Yorker has a responsibility to make sure that this is the beginning of a new era and not simply the end of a shameful career. My constituents know that I support term limits for legislative leaders and committee chairs. They know I support campaign finance reform and a more transparent and inclusive state government. Every New Yorker should be on the phone with their representatives making sure that they do, too. Every New Yorker should hold elected officials to a much higher standard.
From Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy (one of the state’s most prominent Republican county chairs):
Sheldon Silver committed bribery, he committed extortion, and he had the arrogance to think it was his due.
From Lawsuit Reform Alliance Executive Director Tom Stebbins: As we have been saying for years, Sheldon Silver’s ‘income’ was nothing more than a political payment to ensure he executed the agenda of the trial lawyers who paid him. We are left with a state decimated by lawsuits and litigation – highest medical liability costs, highest construction insurance costs, and an asbestos court rated the worst the nation. Today marks a new day where the legislature can start working for the people of New York, not just the trial lawyers.