Thursday, January 22, 2015


Gang signals? Cuomo and Silver last June, via Politics on the Hudson.
Photo caption in the Times on the arrest of Speaker Shelly Silver:
The investigation of Sheldon Silver, right, the speaker of the New York State Assembly, picked up speed after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in March abruptly shut down an anticorruption commission.
The Times and WNYC have kept repeating similar sentences in various versions of the story all morning. They are both not saying this, but are kind of forcing us to say it with this continual association of Cuomo's shutting down the Morland Commission and the feds doubling down on their investigations of Silver: that Cuomo closed the commission at least in part because it was looking too closely at Shelly.

The allegations are to my mind shocking enough:

He is charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and extortion.

The complaint maintains that for more than a decade, Mr. Silver devised a scheme “to induce real estate developers with business before the state” to use a real estate law firm controlled by a lawyer who had once worked as Mr. Silver’s counsel who orchestrated payments to the speaker for referrals to the firm.

The complaint said that “there is probable cause to believe that Silver received approximately $4 million in payments characterized as attorney referral fees solely through the corrupt use of his official position.”

Prosecutors, according to the complaint, said that Mr. Silver did essentially no work for the payments.

Prosecutors seized approximately $3.8 million of Mr. Silver’s money on Thursday morning.
Something like this, however, has been widely suspected for years, since Silver has never been able to explain what he does for the firm of Goldberg and Iryami, a tiny firm specializing in legal matters he knows nothing about.

That Cuomo should have flushed his anticorruption commission down the toilet without any coherent public explanation in order to protect Silver, though—that's pretty bad. Yes, they're Democrats. Would the party kindly make some statement dissociating itself from this stuff? Working Families too, please.

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