Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who believes that he has been absolved of any ethics violations from the handling of his colleague Vito Lopez‘s sexual harassment scandal, will attend a fund-raiser with Assembly Ethics Chairman Charles Lavine in Albany this week. Asked if Silver’s attendance means he was not implicated in the probe, Lavine said the question is “logical but logically odd.”
“I value my relationship with the Speaker, who I believe is already one of the greatest speakers the New York State Legislature has ever had,” Lavine said. “He is respected, and it is very much appreciated that he is a featured guest.”
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has delivered its findings to the Legislative Ethics Commission, of which Lavine is a member, but Lavine would not comment on its details. Assembly members commonly host fund-raisers with Silver, but good government groups aren’t thrilled with the practice.
“It’s simply not possible for members of the Legislature to sit in judgment of their fellows,” Common Cause New York director Susan Lerner said. “It’s difficult for members of the Legislature to weigh conduct of one of their leaders when they are dependent on that leader for so many things, including fundraising. While it is not illegal, it is certainly disappointing.”