Sheldon Silver

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Sheldon Silver
Sheldon Silver.jpg
New York State Assembly District 65
Incumbent
In office
January 1, 1977-Present
Term ends
December 31, 2016
Years in position 38
PartyDemocratic
Leadership
Speaker of the House
1994-Present
Compensation
Base salary$79,500/year
Per diem$171/day and $61/half-day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember, 1976
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Campaign $$4,520,898
Term limitsN/A
Education
Bachelor'sYeshiva University
J.D.Brooklyn Law School
Personal
Date of birthFebruary 13, 1944
Place of birthNew York, New York
ProfessionLegislator/Attorney
ReligionJewish
Websites
Office website
CandidateVerification
Sheldon Silver (b. February 13, 1944) is a Democratic member of the New York State Assembly, representing District 65. He was first elected to the chamber in 1976.

Silver has served as Speaker of the New York State Assembly since 1994. On January 25, 2015, Silver announced that he would temporary relinquish his duties as Speaker as he fights federal corruption charges. Facing pressure to resign his position, Silver announced a plan where five senior Democratic members in the Assembly would assume the Speaker's responsibilities.[1] The plan was not accepted by Assembly Democrats, citing that the plan was just a way for Silver to retain power from behind the scenes.[2] On January 27, it was announced that Silver has until February 2 to resign, or the membership will remove him through a resolution.[3] As soon as Silver is removed, Joseph Morelle (D) will serve as speaker on an interim basis until an election for the post is held on February 10.[4]

On January 22, 2015, Silver was arrested and charged with five counts of fraud and conspiracy. The court documents allege that Silver used his position to take more than $6 million in bribes and kickbacks from the two law firms, Weitz & Luxenberg and Goldberg & Iryami, which he masked as legitimate income.[5] There have been calls from both Democrats and Republicans for Silver to resign.

He previously represented District 64 in the New York State Assembly from 1977 to 2013.

Biography

Silver earned his B.A. from Yeshiva University and his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. His professional experience includes working as an attorney in a private practice and as a law secretary for Civil Court Judge Francis Pecora.[6]

An April 2013 list of the 100 most powerful players in Albany by the newspaper City and State ranked Silver as number two.[7]

Committee assignments

2013-2014

At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Silver served on the following committees:

New York Committee Assignments, 2013
Rules, Chair

2011-2012

In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Silver served on the following committees:[8]

2009-2010

In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Silver served on the following committees:

Elections

2014

See also: New York State Assembly elections, 2014

Elections for the office of New York State Assembly took place in 2014. A primary election took place on September 9, 2014. The general election took place on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was July 10, 2014. Incumbent Sheldon Silver was unopposed in the Democratic primary, while Maureen Koetz was unopposed in the Republican primary. Silver also ran on the Working Families Party ticket. Silver defeated Koetz in the general election.[9][10][11]

New York State Assembly, District 65 General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngSheldon Silver Incumbent 82.4% 11,455
     Republican Maureen Koetz 17.6% 2,442
Total Votes 13,897

2012

See also: New York State Assembly elections, 2012

Silver ran in the 2012 election for New York State Assembly District 65. He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary on September 13, 2012. He also ran on the Working Families Party ticket. He defeated Wave Chan in the general election which took place on November 6, 2012.[12][13][14]

New York State Assembly, District 65, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngSheldon Silver Incumbent 83.7% 25,128
     Republican Wave Chan 16.3% 4,906
Total Votes 30,034

2010

See also: New York State Assembly elections, 2010

Silver ran unopposed in the September 14 Democratic primary. He was unopposed in the general election on November 2.[15][16] In addition to running on the Democratic ticket, he ran on the Working Familes ticket.

New York State Assembly, District 64 2010
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Sheldon Silver (D) 16,881

2008

See also: New York State Assembly elections, 2008

On November 4, 2008, Silver won re-election to the New York State Assembly, District 64, defeating opponent Danniel Maio (R).[17][18]

Silver raised $473,580 for his campaign while Maio raised $8,607.[19]

New York State Assembly, District 64 2008
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Sheldon Silver (D) 27,632
Danniel Maio (R) 7,387

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Sheldon Silver is available dating back to 1998. Based on available campaign finance records, Sheldon Silver raised a total of $4,567,008 during that time period. This information was last updated on September 24, 2013.[20]

Sheldon Silver's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 New York State Assembly, District 65 Won $764,977
2010 New York State Assembly, District 64 Won $576,039
2008 New York State Assembly, District 64 Won $473,580
2006 New York State Assembly, District 64 Won $719,384
2004 New York State Assembly, District 64 Won $550,936
2002 New York State Assembly, District 64 Won $554,065
2000 New York State Assembly, District 62 Won $244,944
1998 New York State Assembly, District 62 Won $683,083
Grand Total Raised $4,567,008

2012

Sheldon Silver won re-election to the New York State Assembly in 2012. During that election cycle, Sheldon Silver raised a total of $764,977.
New York State Assembly 2012 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Sheldon Silver's campaign in 2012
Coach Inc Com$8,481
Century 21 Department Stores$8,200
New York State Conference of Operating Engineers$5,100
New York State Police Investigators Association$5,000
Sklar, Nathan$4,100
Total Raised in 2012$764,977
Source:Follow the Money

2010

In 2010, a year in which Silver was up for re-election, he collected $576,039 in donations.[21]

The major contributors were:

New York State Assembly 2010 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Sheldon Silver's campaign in 2010
New York State Healthcare Providers$7,800
New York State Funeral Directors Association$7,600
Uniformed Sanitation Men's Association Local 831$7,600
New York State Court Clerks Association$6,800
Bond Schoeneck & King$5,800
Total Raised in 2010 $576,039

2008

In 2008, a year in which Silver was up for re-election, he collected $473,580 in donations.[22]

The major contributors were:

New York State Assembly 2008 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Sheldon Silver's campaign in 2008
New York State Trial Lawyers$7,600
AFSCME District Council 37$6,301
Citigroup$5,500
Five groups that each gave:$5,000
Total Raised in 2008 $473,580

Scorecards

See also: State legislative scorecards and State legislative scorecards in New York

Legislative scorecards are used to evaluate elected public officials based on voting record. Some scorecards are created by political advocacy groups with a focus on specific issues, while others are developed by newspapers and are broad in scope. Scorecards are meant to be used as a tool for voters to have a quick picture of whether their views align with a particular legislator's record.

Because scorecards can be specific to particular issues or general to a state’s legislative term, for example, each report should be considered on its own merits. Each entity that publishes these reports uses different methodologies and definitions for the terms used.

An overview for scorecards in all 50 states can be found on this page. To contribute to the list of New York scorecards, email suggestions to scorecards@ballotpedia.org.

Please see our writing guidelines if you would like to add results from an individual scorecard to this legislator's profile.

2013-2014

In 2013, the 200th New York State Legislature, first annual session, was in session from January 9 to December 31. In 2014, the 200th New York State Legislature, second annual session, was in session from January 8 to June 19, 2014.[23]

  • Legislators are scored on their votes of bills that benefit or harm the environment.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes of bills that benefit or harm the environment.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key small business issues.

2011-2012

In 2011, the 199th New York State Legislature, first annual session, was in session from January 5 to June 20, 2011. In 2012, the 199th New York State Legislature, second annual session, was in session from January 4 to June 22, 2012.

  • Legislators are scored on their voting records concerning library funding.
  • Legislators are scored on their voting records concerning library funding.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key small business issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes of bills that benefit or harm the environment.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes of bills that benefit or harm the environment.

Endorsements

2012

In 2012, Silver’s endorsements included the following:[24]

  • 32BJ/SEIU

Personal

Silver and his wife, Rosa, have four children; Edward, Janine, Michelle and Esther.[25]

Controversies

Secret payment

In late August 2012, it was reported that the Assembly made a secret payment of $103,080 two months earlier in order to settle sexual harassment allegations against Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D). While Lopez was censured by the Assembly on August 24 after an internal ethics committee investigation substantiated allegations by two other women, the earlier case never went to the ethics committee.[26]

Silver approved the settlement, but once it came to light said it was the wrong decision. “I take full responsibility in not insisting that all cases go to the ethics committee. While that opinion is both legally correct and ethical and can result in a resolution sought by complaining employees, I now believe it was the wrong one from the perspective of transparency,” he stated.[26]

A number of officials and individuals, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), called for a full investigation.[27]

Family voter registration irregularities

In September 2012, the New York Post obtained information regarding voter registration problems pertaining to Silver's children. Years after having moved out of district or out of New York state altogether, three of his children, Edward, Michelle and Esther, remained registered to vote in their father’s Lower East Side district. Presumably, they neglected to change their registration so that they would have the opportunity to vote for him, despite the fact that in recent years Silver has faced little or no electoral opposition.[28]

An attorney interviewed by the Post stated that this type of false registration is at least a misdemeanor and could be classified as a felony in some cases.[28]

Federal investigation & arrest

In late December 2014, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, wrote a series of articles on the federal investigation into multiple payments made to Silver from a New York law firm. Both websites cited a source close to the investigation.[29] The law firm in question, Goldberg & Iryami, is a small law firm that, "seeks real estate tax reductions for commercial and residential properties in New York City."[5] According to the New York Times, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and the F.B.I. are trying to determine what Silver was doing for Goldberg & Iryami. Prosecutors and agents of the F.B.I. also discovered that the law firm Goldberg & Iryami, has issued payments to Silver for the past decade, but that he did he not list that income on his annual financial disclosure forms.[5] Jay Goldberg told the Wall Street Journal, that "Nothing illicit is going on here."[30] In his professional life, Silver is a personal-injury lawyer and acts as "of counsel" for the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg.[30] In 2013, Silver said that he made from $650,000 to $750,000 from outside work including, though not limited to Weitz & Luxenberg. This is in addition to his $121,000 Assembly salary.[30] It is unclear what kind of work that Silver does for the personal-injury law firm. As a personal-injury lawyer, Silver is not known to have any expertise in the area of law in which Goldberg & Iryami practices.[5] The investigation into Silver came out from the work of the Moreland Commission, a state ethics commission created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), to identify corruption in state politics.[29] The Moreland Commission was disbanded last March after Cuomo made a deal to secure the state's budget that included tougher laws on bribery, corruption and improved enforcement of election law. Bharara publicly critized the decommissioning of the commission and took the remaining files from the panel and vowed to complete its work.[31]

On January 22, 2015, Silver was arrested and charged with five counts of fraud and conspiracy. The court documents allege that Silver used his position to take more than $6 million in bribes and kickbacks from the two law firms, Weitz & Luxenberg and Goldberg & Iryami, which he masked as legitimate income. According to court documents, Silver was paid $1.4 million in salary from the law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg based off his position in the assembly and not for work that he performed. He also received $3.9 million in attorney referral fees. Prosecutors in the case say that Silver steered $500,000 in state funds to an unnamed doctor and the doctor in turn steered asbestos cases to the firm. The law firm of Goldberg & Iryami is not named in the criminal complaint, but a source close to the investigation named the firm as the unnamed "Real Estate Law Firm" referenced in the court documents.[5] According to Robert W. Ryan, a criminal investigator in the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Silver steered two developers to Goldberg & Iryami and received a share of the fees the firm collected from the developers.[5] If convicted, Silver faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on each of the charges.[5][32]

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References

  1. NY Times, "Sheldon Silver to Temporarily Relinquish Speaker Duties," accessed January 27, 2015
  2. Capital New York, "Democrats still unclear on whether Silver will resign," January 27, 2015
  3. Daily Caller, "New York Dems Plan Sheldon Silver’s Ouster," January 27, 2015
  4. NY Times, "Sheldon Silver to Be Replaced as Speaker of New York State Assembly," January 27, 2015
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 NY Times, "U.S. Said to Investigate Sheldon Silver, New York Assembly Speaker, Over Payments," December 29, 2014
  6. Project Vote Smart, "Biography of Rep. Silver,” accessed August 1, 2014
  7. City and State, "Albany Power 100 List – 10," April 23, 2013
  8. New York State Assembly, "Rules Committee," accessed May 18, 2012
  9. New York Board of Elections, "Certification for the September 9, 2014, State Primary Election," accessed December 17, 2014
  10. New York Board of Elections, "Primary results for September 9, 2014," accessed October 1, 2014
  11. New York Board of Elections, "NYS Board of Elections Assembly Election Returns November 4, 2014," accessed December 17, 2014
  12. State of New York, State Board of Elections, "Candidate List for the September 13, 2012, State Primary Election," accessed July 31, 2014
  13. State of New York, State Board of Elections, "Official September 13, 2012, Primary Results," accessed July 31, 2014
  14. State of New York, State Board of Elections, "Official Assembly Election Returns Nov. 6, 2012," accessed July 31, 2014
  15. New York Times, "NY state legislative election results," accessed February 11, 2014
  16. New York State Board of Elections, "Official Primary results from September 14, 2010," accessed July 31, 2014
  17. New York State Board of Elections, "Official Primary results from September 9, 2008," accessed July 31, 2014
  18. New York State Board of Elections, "Official Assembly Election Returns November 4, 2008," accessed July 31, 2014
  19. Follow the Money, "Report on 2008 Campaign donations in New York," accessed August 1, 2014
  20. followthemoney.org, "Silver, Sheldon" accessed September 24, 2013
  21. Follow the Money, "2010 contributions to Sheldon Silver," accessed August 1, 2014
  22. Follow the Money, "2008 contributions to Sheldon Silver,” accessed August 1, 2014
  23. State Scape, "Session Schedules," accessed July 16, 2014
  24. New York Daily News, "32BJ/SEIU Endorses For State Senate, Assembly," August 1, 2012
  25. Project Vote Smart, "Biography of Rep. Silver,” accessed August 1, 2014
  26. 26.0 26.1 New York Times, "Assembly Leader Admits Fault as Critics Assail Secret Payoff," August 28, 2012
  27. New York Post, "Cuomo's on the case," August 29, 2012
  28. 28.0 28.1 New York Post, "Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s children moved away from father's Lower East Side district — but still vote in dad’s elections," accessed September 17, 2012
  29. 29.0 29.1 Gothamist, "Feds Reportedly Investigating Powerful Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver," December 30, 2014
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Wall Street Journal, "Feds Probe N.Y. State Assembly Speaker Silver Over Income," December 30, 2014
  31. CBS New York, "U.S. Attorney Blasts Gov. Cuomo’s Decision To Shut Down Anti-Corruption Commission," April 10, 2014
  32. Reuters, "N.Y. state assembly speaker charged with fraud in corruption probe," January 22, 2015
Political offices
Preceded by
Micah Kellner (D)
New York Assembly District 65
2013–present
Succeeded by
NA
Preceded by
-
New York Assembly District 64
1977–2013
Succeeded by
Nicole Malliotakis (R)