SILVER USES LEVERS OF POWER TO SILENCE BARRETT, DEMOCRATS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Becky Miller
Albany, NY…October 31, 2012 — Today the New York GOP released the following statement regarding Speaker Silver’s use of DACC money to silence Assembly Democrats:
Faced with well-substantiated charges that a powerful member of his caucus, Vito Lopez, had sexually harassed two staffers, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver took an active role in covering up the assaults, including authorizing secret payments of more than $100,000 of taxpayer money, disguised as “legal fees,” to the victims.
Many prominent Republicans have called on Silver to resign his speakership – but the silence from Assembly Democrats has been deafening.
New Yorkers are wondering why Assembly Democrats would refuse to speak out in favor of the right of women to a safe workplace.
The answer is simple: Assembly Democrats are less interested in protecting women than in protecting their own committee assignments, leadership positions, staffing dollars and other perks of office, as well as campaign money from the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee (DACC), all of which is tightly controlled by Speaker Silver.
Assembly Democrats remember the 2000 smack down of former Majority Leader Mike Bragman when he attempted to challenge Silver’s leadership. That incident demonstrated what enormous power the speaker yields over his members. Twelve years later, Democrats are still afraid to stand up to Silver, even in the face of such a heinous cover up.
Take Didi Barrett for example. The freshman Assemblywoman won a special election earlier this year and has since been the beneficiary of over a quarter of a million dollars of DACC cash. Put in perspective, that’s over five times the total amount that she spent on her special election campaign earlier this year.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing. When members of the Assembly like Didi Barrett refuse to stand up to Silver for fear of political blowback, the culture of corruption flourishes, and women in Albany pay the price.