It was just last year that we finally began to at least get some fragmentary answers to some really simple questions that Albany has been asking for decades. Just how rich is Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and where does that money come from? For the first time in his long tenure Albany, Silver, arguably one of the most powerful elected officials in New York, was finally required to make some meaningful disclosures about the state of his finances.
It was then that we learned that Sheldon Silver is not poor.
And today we learned that Silver, in addition to being employed "of counsel" the firm of Weitz & Luxenberg, something we've always known, also has a nice little private practice as well, something we definitely did not know, at least for sure.
Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat from lower Manhattan, confirmed to reporters on Thursday that he has been practicing law as his own man and then refused, in the next breath, to name any of the clients who paid him at least $650,000 in 2013.
Silver then uttered the most Shelly Silver sentence ever uttered by Shelly Silver:
"I disclose everything—all my income—otherwise I wouldn't be disclosing it," Silver said.
Remember that it was just a few days ago that we learned that federal prosecutors have found that Silver failed disclose this other outside income. That's kind of a big no-no.
So far, people with knowledge of the matter say, prosecutors have found that Sheldon Silver, the powerful Democratic speaker of the State Assembly, failed to disclose some of the income he earned in the private sector. While he has disclosed earnings from a major personal-injury law firm for years, prosecutors found other law-firm income that he did not detail as required. A spokesman for Mr. Silver said that he had disclosed all of his law-practice income, but declined to answer questions about its source.
But prosecutors and F.B.I. agents have also been able to determine that for some time, Mr. Silver had failed to disclose income from another law firm besides Weitz & Luxenberg, the people said...
It is not known what Mr. Silver did to earn this income. Both people characterized the discovery as potentially significant, but emphasized that no evidence had yet been uncovered to suggest that he had committed a crime.
And no, Silver will tell you who is paying him all of this money or for what, thankyouverymuch.
So we have the leader of one of our legislative chambers, a man with immense power to direct the legislative agenda of the state of New York, who is not disclosing all of his outside income and won't tell you who he actually works for.
That's messed up.
US Attorney Preet Bharara, who is sitting with all those sweet Moreland Commission files in his lap, has reissued subpoenas to Weitz & Luxenberg as well as other law firms that employ lawmakers. At least we have that, I guess.
(image via NYDN)