Cox to Cuomo: Appoint Special Prosecutor to Investigate Silver, Lopez
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Laska
ALBANY, NY… New York State Republican Chairman Ed Cox delivered the following letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier today. Click here for a .pdf of the letter.
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State New York State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Albany’s scourge of sexual harassment has been covered up for too many years by a corrupt political system, exemplified by three known payments of government funds by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver dating back to 1995. Both the Joint Committee on Public Ethics (JCOPE) and Richmond County District Attorney Dan Donovan have released reports on the latest incidents detailing Vito Lopez’ and Speaker Silver’s contemptible actions.
The facts have outraged the public, have prompted editorial boards across the State to call for Sheldon Silver’s resignation as Speaker, and other charges of abuse of office have been leveled at the Speaker.
Yet the reports’ conclusions permit Vito Lopez, as he seeks another public office, to claim that he has not been charged with even a misdemeanor, let alone a felony. Silver can accurately claim that he has not even been charged with an ethical violation.
The dichotomy between the outrageous facts and the weak charges is due to mandated restrictions on the scope and purposes of the investigations underlying the reports.
The authority of the Donovan investigation of Lopez was limited to infractions that occurred in Kings County, although most of Lopez’ heinous assaults occurred in Albany and other locations inside and outside of New York State.
JCOPE, which is structured to give Silver’s appointees a plenary veto power, was not empowered to investigate Silver’s ethical infractions.
The only way to ensure a complete and thorough multijurisdictional investigation is for you to use the powers granted to you as Governor to either refer this matter to the Attorney General, who may have a conflict of interest, or appoint a special prosecutor, who would not be subject to the same constraints as JCOPE or the Richmond County District Attorney.
Only then will the perpetrators and enablers of sexual abuse of women in the State Assembly be held accountable for their actions.
If you do not use the powers of your office to ensure that justice is done thoroughly and without political restrictions, you, who have proudly authored the present failed enforcement structure of Albany’s ethical rules, will become part of Albany’s culture of political corruption and just one more enabler of the Assembly’s ongoing scandals.
Edward F. Cox Chairman New York Republican State Committee