Long Continues Hitting Gillibrand on Her Support for Scandal Plagued Speaker

September 12, 2012 at 8:57 pm (Kirsten Gillibrand, New York, NY-20, Sheldon Silver, Vito Lopez, Wendy Long)

Democrat Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver’s unethical coverup of sexual harassment claims against prominent politicians and former staff, has been covered extensively here at the Mental Recession. 

Despite what would seem like a tactic that should be universally denounced – using taxpayer money to pay off victims of sexual harassment – all of New York state’s top Democrats have stood by Silver.

One in particular, Kirsten Gillibrand, seems curious mostly because of her platform of being allegedly pro-Woman.

As the “Gropez” probe widens, U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long once again called upon Senator Gillibrand to end her support for Speaker Silver and tell him to step aside from his leadership position pending the outcome of investigations.

“It’s time for New York’s cheerleader-in-chief to back up her rhetoric with real action. The fact is Kirsten Gillibrand is promoting Albany’s culture of corruption, and putting her political and personal interests ahead of young professional women,” said Long.

Long asked, “Why would Gillibrand call for Speaker Hastert to resign in similar circumstances, but call Speaker Silver the ‘perfect’ person to represent New York?“

She added, “How can Kirsten Gillibrand hold herself out as an advocate for women, but stand silently by as hush money is used to silence victims of sexual assault?”

Long today also released a new video, hammering Gillibrand’s support of Silver in which she called him “perfectly poised” to represent New York state.

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Democrat Candidate: Sexual Harassment in NY Government ‘Routine’

September 10, 2012 at 11:14 am (Monica Arias Miranda, New York, Scandal, Sexual Harassment, Sheldon Silver, Vito Lopez, Women)

Democrat Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver’s unethical coverup of sexual harassment claims against prominent politicians and former staff, has been covered extensively here at the Mental Recession. 

Despite what would seem like a tactic that should be universally denounced – using taxpayer money to pay off victims of sexual harassment – all of New York state’s top Democrats have stood by Silver.  Deligitimizing the seriousness of women being the victims of sexual harassment – or in the case of Silver’s former staff member, J. Michael Boxley,  sexual assault - seems like a risky play for a party constantly beating the drum of Republicans being at war with women.

Now however, a Democrat Senate candidate is bucking her own party by calling for a thorough investigation of Silver, and also claiming that she too has been the victim of sexual harassment by what she called the “good ol’ boy” network in New York politics.

Via the  Village Voice: 

A former New York Assembly staffer who now is running for the state Senate says the multiple sexual harassment allegations made against shamed Assemblyman Vito Lopez — and the subsequent coverup by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — is just a “smokescreen and coverup for something much bigger.”

Democratic Senate hopeful Monica Arias Miranda claims she was sexually harassed routinely by male co-workers when she worked as a budget analyst for the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. She says she never filed complaints about the abuse because she feared retaliation from the “good ‘ol boy” culture in the Legislature.

Miranda, who faces two other Democrats in Thursday’s primary, has called for an investigation into Silver — a risky move for a Democrat, but one that is sure to set her apart from her opponents in her suburban Albany district.

“Why are elected officials calling for Mr. Lopez’s resignation yet are not willing to say the same about the speaker, who is the one responsible for using $100,000 of tax-dollar money to hush the sexual harassment allegations,” she said at a press conference yesterday.

Silver approved a payoff of more than $103,000 in taxpayer money to silence two of Lopez’s alleged victims.

It should also be noted that had Silver done a proper investigation into the initial victim’s claims, the subsequent instances of harassment that led to Lopez’ eventual punishment may never have taken place.

Silver is an accomplice to the second pair of victims being groped and sexually harassed.

We continue to call on the resignation of Mr. Silver, but even more so, we are calling on other prominent Democrats in New York state to ask for the same.

It’s time New York Democrats took a stand that actually helped women, instead of using them as pawns for their own political aspirations.

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Long: Time for Gillibrand to Denounce the Culture of Corruption in Albany and Call on Speaker Silver to Step Aside

September 6, 2012 at 10:49 am (Albany, Corruption, Kirsten Gillibrand, New York, NY-20, Rutnick Law, Sheldon Silver, Wendy Long)

U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long today called on Senator Gillibrand to immediately end her support for Sheldon Silver’s leadership and the culture of corruption that makes victims of young women.

“As she did with Speaker Hastert, it’s time for Kirsten Gillibrand to call on Speaker Silver to step aside and allow the special prosecutor to get to the bottom of the sexual harassment cover-up that has plagued Albany,” said U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long.

“Given her self appointed role as cheerleader-in-chief for women’s issues, Gillibrand’s silence leads to the question whose interests is she protecting –women and New York taxpayers, or the lobbying practice of the Rutnick Law Firm?” concluded Long.

Gillibrand indicated yesterday in Charlotte that she continues to support Speaker Silver despite his collusion in attempting to silence victims of sexual harassment. Gillibrand said, the Speaker is “perfectly poised to be able to offer our votes and he will do so proudly on behalf of our state.”

“It’s inconsistent to say in one breath that you have ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual harassment, and yet still support Speaker Silver’s leadership,” concluded Long.

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New York Democrats Have Joined Arms in the War on Women

September 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm (Cover Up, Ed Cox, Kirsten Gillibrand, New York, Payoffs, Sexual Harassment, Sheldon Silver, Vito Lopez, War on Women)

Today, New York GOP Chairman Ed Cox released the following statement regarding the silence by New York Democrats in Charlotte:

“It is deeply disappointing that New York Democrats in Charlotte, like U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, have remained utterly silent about the attempted sexual assault cover-ups perpetrated by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Indeed, Mr. Silver is serving as the head of the New York delegation at the Democratic National Convention, without a peep from Ms. Gillibrand or her fellow delegates. That is an embarrassment to our state.

“While Ms. Gillibrand has continued to promulgate the term ‘War on Women,’ it appears the only ‘War on Women’ in Albany is against female Assembly staff members.

“Mr. Silver has established a clear pattern of covering up sexual crimes committed against female staff members by his political colleagues. He must not be allowed to remain Speaker. I urge New York Democrats –especially those like Ms. Gillibrand, who purport to stand up for women, to join me in calling on Mr. Silver to step aside as Speaker.

“Continued silence from the Democratic delegation in Charlotte is unacceptable.”

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NY GOP Chairman Calls on Silver to Resign Over Repeated Sexual Harassment Coverups

September 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm (Ed Cox, Ethics, Gropergate, J. Michael Boxley, New York, Sheldon Silver, Vito Lopez)

It’s a scandal that Democrats don’t want you to know about here in New York state – Gropergate. So much so, that they’ve taken to seating New York delegates at the convention in practically another zip code.

Today New York GOP Chairman Ed Cox called on Sheldon Silver to step down as Speaker of the Assembly Following Sex Abuse Cover-up Revelations:

“Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver claims his actions handling the cover-up of a hush-money payout to quell sexual abuse allegations against Democrat Assemblyman Vito Lopez were ‘legal and ethical.’

“A judge appointed special prosecutor will determine if criminal liability attaches to actions approved by the Speaker, but we don’t need a special prosecutor to rule on the ethics of this transaction.

“Faced with a member of his caucus who had on multiple occasions sexually harassed female staff members, Speaker Silver neglected to refer the matter to the Assembly Ethics Committee and instead took an active role in covering up the abuse, including paying over $100,000 of taxpayer money to the victim, who did not request confidentiality.

“Silver’s actions were unethical and wholly unbecoming of a member of the New York State Assembly, let alone its Speaker.

“Sheldon Silver’s history of covering up sex abuse in the Democratic Assembly caucus includes a $500,000 settlement in 2004 for sexual misconduct by Silver’s Chief Counsel and an $80,000 settlement in 1992 for similar charges against another Democratic Assemblyman.

“As Speaker, Sheldon Silver has allowed a culture of abuse to permeate the Democratic Assembly caucus and has demonstrated a manifest disregard for the wellbeing and safety of female Assembly staff members.

“Additionally, the Speaker’s use of public money to settle these claims is questionable at best, and may in and of itself be illegal.

“Enough is enough. The line must be drawn here. For the sake of female officials and staffers in the Assembly – and indeed for the sake of all New Yorkers – Sheldon Silver must step down as Speaker of the New York State Assembly.”

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Cox to Miner: Apologize For Incendiary Remarks

September 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm (Ed Cox, GOP, Governor Cuomo, New York, Sheldon Silver, Stephanie Miner, Vito Lopez)

New York GOP Chairman Ed Cox today released the following statement:

“Syracuse Mayor and state Democratic co-chair Stephanie Miner’s divisive attack on Republicans yesterday, calling the GOP ‘a party of hatred that wraps up their hatred in clever 30-second sound bites,’ is completely unacceptable and should not be tolerated, especially considering the circumstances.”

Miner’s harsh attack on Republicans follows the recent sexual harassment settlement scandal involving Democrats Vito Lopez and Sheldon Silver.

“State Chair Stephanie Miner should apologize for her hateful and unfounded attack on Republicans.  There is no room for that kind of language in the political arena.”

“On the other hand, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated a willingness to work with senate Republicans resulting in steps towards growth for New York including cutting the state’s budget, creating a new pension tier and championing fiscal reforms.  We call on the Governor to repudiate this hateful and embarrassing rhetoric.”

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Long: Gillibrand Needs to Tell Speaker Silver to Step Aside in Light of "Gropergate" Investigation

September 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm (Dennis Hastert, Gropergate, John Sweeney, Kirsten Gillibrand, New York, NY-20, Off the Sidelines, Sheldon Silver, Vito Lopez, War on Women, Wendy Long)

A whole new level of hypocrisy and dysfunction, that’s the state things have gone to in Albany where top Democrats pay taxpayer dollars in hush money to silence victims of sexual harassment. But where is Senator Gillibrand, America’s number one cheerleader for women’s rights?

U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long said, “As New York Democrats rally in Charlotte and attempt to distract attention from jobs and the economy with talk of a phony ‘war on women,’ they turn their back on systematic and government-sanctioned sexual harassment back here in New York. It’s time for Senator Gillibrand, self-anointed protector of women’s rights, to get ‘off the side lines’ and call on Speaker Silver to step aside while investigations by JCOPE and Staten Island District Attorney Donovan proceed.”

Gillibrand, who only belatedly called for Lopez’s resignation, has worked fanatically to position herself as an advocate for women’s rights, even claiming that her campaign front, Off the Sidelines, assists Republicans. But when it comes to standing up for victims of sexual harassment and bucking her party, she has lost her voice.

In her 2006 race for Congress, Gillibrand urged then Congressman Sweeney to join her in calling for the resignation of Speaker Dennis Hastert in the wake of his negligence in handling the information provided to his office about Congressman Foley’s interaction with young Congressional pages.

“Democrats are scurrying like rats off a sinking ship to distance themselves from Lopez’s predatory behavior, but equally disturbing is the good old boy network that attempted to sweep ‘Gropergate’ under the rug and use taxpayer dollars to silence victims. New Yorkers deserve to know the truth, and Senator Gillibrand should call on the Speaker to step aside from his leadership post to assure a swift and complete investigation of the matter,” added Long.

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Just How Embarrassed Are Democrats of Their New York Delegates? Check Out This Seating Arrangement

September 4, 2012 at 7:53 am (2012 Election, Barack Obama, Brooklyn, Chuck Schumer, Democrat National Convention, DNC, Kirsten Gillibrand, New York, Sheldon Silver, Vito Lopez)

Jazz Shaw of Hot Air recently wrote a piece about the corruption being unveiled in New York politics these past few weeks titled, “Something Rotten in New York”.  In it, Shaw writes about the taxpayer funded cover up of sexual assault claims made against one of Brooklyn’s most powerful Democrat politicians.  A payment to sweep sexual assault allegations under the rug to avoid an ethics inquiry was authorized by New York State Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver.

Last week we wrote:

… what was once praised as a swift response, has been a proven case of pandering to members of government with a penchant for sexual misconduct.  In a stunning revelation, the New York Times reports that Silver attempted to keep previous Lopez harassment issues swept under the rug, authorizing a secret payment to two other victims for an eye-popping $103,080.

Sadly, this wasn’t the first time that Silver had paid a victim of sexual harassment and/or assault taxpayer funded hush money.

In 2003, Silver was criticized for a slow response to a case involving his former aide, J. Michael Boxley, who was accused of rape and later pled guilty to sexual misconduct.  Three years later, the Assembly agreed to pay $500,000 of taxpayer money to settle the case.

How badly must it undermine the Democrats entire mantra of Republicans waging a “War on Women” when one of New York’s most powerful politicians has been caught – twice – paying women who have been sexually assaulted to keep quiet?

So indeed, something does smell rotten in New York.  Up here in these parts, we just call it politics as usual.  When you live so closely to the sewage waste plant that is New York politics, you become fatigued of the stench.

Not so for the national scene however.

Silver you see, is one of the members of New York’s delegates set to appear at the Democrat National Convention this week, where he will once again have the honor of announcing that they are endorsing Barack Obama for president during the Democratic convention.

At the DNC, amongst people that aren’t used to such a level of rancid politics, Sheldon Silver’s presence with the New York delegation has created some controversy.  Silver has been pressured to cede his role to somebody else at the convention, to no avail.

But just in case you weren’t clear on just how awful the stench is coming from New York, the faction that ranks behind only California in size, which includes powerful Democrat Chuck Schumer, and Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been targeted for a possible presidential run in 2016, has been placed about as far away from the podium as humanly possible.  

Take a look at these seats…

Via YNN:

CapTon executive producer Michael Johnson took this shot from the podium of the New York delegation’s seating area, which is aaaaaalllll the way in the back of the Time Warner Cable Arena.

It’s far worse a location than the Republicans had at the Tampa Bay Times Forum last week, even though they’re just about as low on the party totem pole as the Democrats are here in Charlotte. 

… 

Democrats who have made it inside to see their seating have been overheard grousing about their poor placement, especially considering how much campaign cash Obama has raised in NYC.

There is most definitely something rotten in New York, and now Democrats in North Carolina have distanced themselves as far away as possible – literally.

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Sexual Harassment Pander: Sheldon Silver Once Again Proves Ethics in New York Under His Watch Is Non-Existent

August 28, 2012 at 1:19 pm (Assembly, J. Michael Boxley, New York, Settlement, Sexual Harassment, Sheldon Silver, Taxpayer Money, Vito Lopez)

Sheldon Silver must resign.

Over the weekend, Silver was lauded for his swift and unprecedented response to the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal.  Lopez was unanimously rebuked by the Standing Committee on Ethics and Guidance, stripping him of his Housing Committee chairmanship, cutting off funding and resources from the Assembly, and banning him from hiring employees under the age of 21.  Silver outlined the punishment in a startlingly graphic letter from the Assembly to Lopez.  
Now however, what was once praised as a swift response, has been a proven case of pandering to members of government with a penchant for sexual misconduct.  In a stunning revelation, the New York Times reports that Silver attempted to keep previous Lopez harassment issues swept under the rug, authorizing a secret payment to two other victims for an eye-popping $103,080.  

“… a previous sexual harassment claim was quietly settled by the Assembly earlier this year, in an arrangement that included public money, a confidentiality agreement and mandatory attendance by Mr. Lopez at a sexual harassment workshop.”

The payment was authorized on June 13th, preceding the complaints from two new women which prompted Lopez’ censuring.  The new allegations were made in mid-July. The previous settlement creates a scenario in which calls into question what might have been.  Had Silver taken bold, swift actions when responding to the first case, perhaps the two later complainants would never have been sexually harassed.

Officials are calling the secret payment “unprecedented” and “unfathomable”, while government watchdog groups are demanding an investigation.

Silver’s inaction is not an isolated incident.  Assembly members have been wrapped up in scandals involving current and former interns in 2006, 2007, and 2008 according to the Times, and Silver has oft been criticized for his lethargic response to such scandals.

What’s more, Silver’s use of taxpayer funds to settle harassment cases is not in fact, “unprecedented” at all.

In 2003, Silver was criticized for a slow response to a case involving his former aide, J. Michael Boxley, who was accused of rape and later pled guilty to sexual misconduct.  Three years later, the Assembly agreed to pay $500,000 of taxpayer money to settle the case.

Silver has consistently swept sexual harassment complaints under the rug, has continually used taxpayer funds to placate victims, and by extension has allowed these unprofessional and abhorrent behaviors to be perpetrated upon other victims.  He has proven willing to sacrifice ethics for his allies in government.

He is a panderer to predators, and must resign.

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Banner Weekend For NY Democrats – One Punished For Sexual Harassment, Another Announces They’ll Be Arrested

August 27, 2012 at 7:00 am (Andrew Cuomo, Brooklyn, Democrats, Ethics, Governor Cuomo, Grants, Harassment, New York, New York City, Non-Profit, Queens, Sexual Harassment, Sheldon Silver, Shirley Huntley, Taxpayer Money, Vito Lopez)

It’s been a very active weekend for Democrats, with a pair serving in the boroughs of New York City being part of some very rare activity over the weekend.

First off, Brooklyn Democrat Assemblyman Vito Lopez has been handed some very severe punishment stemming from what is being called “blatant instances of sexual harassment”.

The Standing Committee on Ethics and Guidance not only stripped him of his Housing Committee chairmanship, and cut off resources and funding from the Assembly, but his guilty actions prompted a ban prohibiting Lopez from hiring interns or any other employees under the age of 21.

That is the equivalent of a sexual predator being kept from that which tempts them.

The letter from Assembly Majority Speaker Sheldon Silver pulls no punches, providing such details as how Lopez harassed one woman forcibly kissing her and putting his “hand as far up between her legs as you could go”.  He also forced two women to continuously write to him about how much they loved their jobs and cared about him.

Here is a copy of the letter:
Vito Lopez Letter 8-24-12

Lopez has left a long trail of slime in Brooklyn, with rumors that other charges may be coming down the pike.  He has been the subject of multiple federal investigations as well as blatant instances of extreme cronyism.

Several Democrats have pushed for Lopez to resign as a result of these egregious charges, with the most damning perhaps being from the governor of New York himself.  Andrew Cuomo on Sunday joined a growing list of elected officials calling on Lopez to step down.

Next up on the list of corruptocrats from southern New York, is Sen. Shirley Huntley from Queens, who took the rare step of announcing her own impending arrest on Monday.

Huntley held an “emergency press conference” over the weekend to announce that she expects to be arrested on Monday.

She did not indicate what charges may be involved, though four employees of hers had been arrested last year based on an investigation of a non-profit organization in which Huntley had steered tax-payer funds.  The four who were indicted included a top aide and a niece of Huntley’s.

Leave it to city Democrats to get involved in a year’s worth of scandal in one weekend.

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