Sheldon Silver firm donated to corruption committee co-chair: report
One of the co-chairs of the commission Gov. Andrew Cuomo formed to investigate state government corruption received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from a law firm that employs Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the New York Daily News reported.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice reportedly received almost $300,000 in campaign donations from Weitz & Luxenberg, its partners and their spouses.
Silver reportedly earned between $350,000 and $450,000 as “of counsel” at the firm.
Widely publicized corruption in the Assembly is one of the issues that prompted Cuomo to form the commission, including questions raised over Silver’s role in possible efforts to cover up sexual harassment allegations against former Assemblyman Vito Lopez.
Earlier this year, a 68-page report was released detailing various sexual harassment allegations against Lopez by female staffers, including one who said her inner thigh was scratched by Lopez’s “jagged fingernail” when she tried to stop him from pushing his hand up her skirt.
Rice’s spokesman Eric Phillips reportedly insisted the district attorney has long been “immune to fear or favor” and “there’s no chance of that changing now.”
Phillips lamented the current state of campaign finance and said Rice “volunteered for this commission to help break down that unfortunate reality.”
Rice has previously criticized the campaigns of comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer and mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner as “a joke” in interviews with the New York Daily News.
“In light of the work we’re doing on the commission, this goes to the heart of why people have such negative feelings about public servants,” she said of Weiner and Spitzer. “I’m not a resident of New York City, but I wouldn’t vote for either one.”