Newsday: Silver keeps role at convention despite Vito Lopez scandal

The NY media remains obsessed with gossip about the fate of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. AP asked for my thoughts and I said Shelly should remain in his role as leader of the NY State delegation. My further elaboration appears below.

“Shelly weathers this storm,” said former Democratic Assemblyman Michael Benjamin from the Bronx. He said he has no problem having Silver lead the convention delegation…

“Shelly didn’t commit sexual harassment,” Benjamin, now a political commentator, said Monday. “Not referring the matter to the ethics committee was a lapse in judgment. But Shelly should not be punished for that.”

He said he was more bothered by the commanding role at the convention of former President Bill Clinton, “a serial womanizer” whom Benjamin sees as no different than Lopez.

Read the complete Newsday article at the link above.

Do you agree or disagree with me?

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email FOMB08@GMAIL.COM.
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5 Responses to Newsday: Silver keeps role at convention despite Vito Lopez scandal

  1. John Andrew Kay says:

    If the Republican Majority Leader of either house had done what Mr. Silver did to “settle” the matter in collusion with the other elected offices (comptroller/AG) would the press say that she or he should stay or would there be a relentless press for removal, especially if that leader did not conform to the accepted politically correct positions on social issues? There has also been no mention of the prior sex scandal with one of his staffers who was twice accused of rape. Is there a pattern of cover-ups in these matters? Keep blogging!


  2. Geoffrey L. Garfield says:

    Michael, there must be a stray magnet spinning your moral compass. To compare Pres. Clinton as a “serial womanizer” as cover for not lambasting Shelly Silver is just wrong and illogical. One has nothing to do with the other. Shelly is running an inefficient, and apparently, corrupt institution whose culture has allowed for its members to continually rob the same bank over and over with Shelly driving the getaway car. That bank holds the money paid by tax payers. Or the sexual harassment of staff and interns that is part and parcel of Albany culture that also pops up like that troubling rodent in Caddyshack. How many of his Assembly members have to go to jail for misusing member items to enrich themselves and their family for you to finally realize that the fish stinks from the head down? His tacit agreement to allow legislators to create these corrupt not-for-profits that even he knows is controlled by a member is beyond mere carelessness. He is part of the problem and no number of affairs by Clinton will match up to the damage to the institution of state government as has Shelly’s wink-wink at the illegalities right under his nose. How many more sexual harassment cases will now surface now that staff is brave enough to make a complaint without fear of losing their earnest careers? This isn’t new to Shelly, his own high level staffer was forced out for similar charges years ago. Shelly “asked” for Lopez’s resignation and got dissed. He should’ve used all of his considerable power to suspend him, his pay, transfer his staff, whatever, to force that jerk out, much less taking it to the ethics committee as he failed to do. Shelly sets the tone for the culture of Albany, and he has yet to declare a zero tolerance for these organizations to exist under the thumb of members and sexual harassment warnings; his slack enforcement emboldens them, and his response to Lopez was just weak-kneed. He needs to go, too, Michael, and I wish you would point to true north and declare it.


    • Moral compass? First, the context of my remarks to AP had to do with concern about Speaker Silver remaining in his role as the leader of the state delegation at the DNC convention despite the Lopez scandal. If the concern were really about the “optics” of an alleged coverup, then I thought the concern should also include Bill Clinton, a proven liar who had sex with a White House intern.

      Silver does not control the behavior of his Members. The rules regarding the allocation of member-item grants were well-known. Members who broke those rules got prosecuted. The Assembly is not an investigative body. Everyone got elected in the same way and are treated as duly elected members.

      Finally, as legislative leader, Speaker Silver has been the glue holding the Majority Conference together and negotiating on the conference’s behalf with Governor’s Cuomo, Pataki, Spitzer, Paterson and, now this Cuomo. He and I weren’t always in sync on all public policies but maintained a mutual respect.


  3. Dale Benjamin Drakeford says:

    Right on Dollar Bill Clinton, wrong on Slimball Sneaky Silver. With him intact, we have the same dementia of the slippery slope of ethics array as usual. Shame on you Mike. This is what I just wrote on Republicans and now I suspect the same conventional wisdom is shared with democrats. NOW WE CLEARLY UNDERSTAND THE EXTENT OF DEMENTIA IN AMERICA
    Dale Benjamin Drakeford
    When Clint Eastwood, a self-proclaimed “conservative” (who has lived more like a Joseph Smith liberal spurning nine children with four different women, sporting a clinch fisted personae in his private exenterates over public exhibitions) talks vulgar to an empty chair, Marco Rubio (a small government advocate who loss his roots somewhere between caffeine-free tea and a caffeine rich Cuban cigar) slips Freudian to advocate “large government” in a failed attempt to wax brilliant but came off bane (pun intended) to the capitalization of the nation, Paul Ryan can lie and demonize his role against the truth until his nose is a foot long and not one member of his audience will notice, and Mitt Romney can anecdote on his personal family, business and church goings on as oppose to his solutions for unemployment, banking corruption, housing displacement, militarism, planetary illness and international human rights unrest, we can clearly understand the extent of dementia in America.

    In this current demented state the truth damned and the facts pardoned like Cheney from common sense or attendance at the National Republican Convention. This dementia never focused on the recent George Bush (also not invited to prove there was a smidgen of synapse connection in distancing from a man that should be facing a tribunal for crimes against humanity) bust, but Jeb (the less slow sibling) managed to miss his jab at the residing chief executive as the light of incompetence by his sibling rival and malfeasance in the voting history of the sovereign state of Florida he led was looming by his mere presence.

    The dementia did focus on the acting brilliance of Ronald Reagan (as president, statesman, and front man for “Voodoo Economics” that once critics Bush-Clinton-Bush would perpetuate in the name of popularity and built to corporate bedding and betting that led to the housing and mortgage scandals) but as is common with the disease forgot to script how Reagan’s communication then heavy in specifics would behoove this current crop of actors that waffle in soliloquies signifying nothing.

    The conventional wisdom to connect details and solutions aside, the cranial collapse of conventioneers continued with invoking Obama with the free publicity of his accomplishments as failures, but failing to provide the intricacies of how their change will be better. They spoke, as if knowing, what Obama has done and will do with his proposed policies, but lacked a single concrete example of what Romney, the current great pretender, will do. His “plan to create twelve million new jobs” offered not one specific item on his and Ryan’s “five step plan” that never stood up to have us walk through. On education Romney said “every parent should have a choice,” but then gave us nothing to choose. Is his choice more charters to serve investors that reap monetary gain and hedge (pun intended) their perception of success by returning troubled students to their local public institution? He didn’t say, so I am asking. Where were the details on replacing “Obamacare” he mentioned. If he was to replace this would Americans get the same medical coverage as members of congress? He didn’t say, so I am asking for the same coverage. On social security that he says he will protect, will he also acknowledge that this is taxpayer money that he and his kind have jeopardized? If left alone to its simple interest bearing prosperity, there would be no need to claim a protector role over it. Exactly what will he protect? Will he protect my contributions from being invested in war machines? He didn’t say, so I am asking that my social security be invested in a safe vehicle for my future use and not war machines (although I recognize how safe an investment that has been for many of the demented).

    “If” is a big word and “if every home had caring parents …” or something like them, the big star in the fairytale voting booth with a conscious electorate would embrace the sentiment. Yeah, we get it, if only every child could be born to Bill and Melinda Gates it would be hard for the rhetorical and riddled Romney and Ryan not to have “God Bless” the bent club of “politicians that come around every few years saying the same things…” or something like that –to the common core of absent-minded Americans.

    There are plenty of “conservatives in Hollywood” the new face of the curveball demented said with a glint of screwball blue still knuckling a spanking of sanity in his headlights like eastward ho burning east wood in the timber dry vacuum west. “Jon is somewhere,” he informed. There was no mention of the philanderator Arnold muscle-maker who was obviously expendable. “The Oscar winner,” and father of a legendary left of liberal jolly, joshing, jostling, and jongleur is determined to be more dependable like a Gran Torino studded in diamonds and rubies to make ancient echolalia, long a political affliction, verifiable.

    America can verify now what talking to an empty chair should sound like and what talking to an empty chair looks like. It sounds and looks like us when giving converse and energy to a convention of elephants with dementia.


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