By Benjamin M. Haber
The Brennan Center for Justice, a public interest law center at NYU School of Law, rated the New York State Legislature the worst in the nation and considering the plethora of misdeeds that have emanated from it, the charge may well be justified.
Sheldon Silver is entitled to a presumption of innocence of the charges filled against him, and it will be for the courts to determine his guilt or innocence.
Independent of any criminal aspects, Silver, the longtime assembly speaker, and indeed the vast majority of the state Legislature, must be held accountable for the decades they permitted the Legislature to function without a rule that requires each member to not only yearly file an affidavit listing all outside income, but its source, a description of the work performed and the time entailed.
All legislators seeking Silver’s speaker seat should be rejected unless they agree the first order of business will be a change in the rules to reflect greater transparency as above. It may also be a good idea to consider term limits not just for the speaker, but for all legislators.
Benjamin M. Haber