NY Assembly Speaker Tied to Sexual Harassment Furor

Thursday, 06 Jun 2013 02:59 PM

By John Gizzi

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Amid criticism of his handling of a Democratic colleague in the New York Assembly who resigned after widespread charges of sexual harassment, all-powerful Speaker Sheldon Silver is himself the subject of charges that he had improper relations with his top assistant.

According to the New York Daily News, "a damning email omitted from [Democratic Assemblyman] Vito Lopez' sexual harassment report suggests Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had an inappropriate relationship with a top aide."

Lopez, the Daily News reported, told one of the women he was charged with harassing "that he wanted their relationship to be the same as Mr. Silver's to his chief of staff and was explicit in what he meant."

On the same day as the Daily News story, a Quinnipiac Poll showed that among likely voters in New York state, 51 percent felt Silver should step down as speaker, while 22 per cent said he should stay on.

The same survey found that Silver had his highest-ever disapproval rating statewide at 52 percent, and that 58 percent of New York voters said they would not want their daughter to be his intern.

Responding to the sensational charges, state Republican Chairman Ed Cox called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the charges against Silver.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax

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