Lawmakers react to Speaker Silver’s arrest

ALBANY, N.Y. – The New York State Assembly session was cancelled on Thursday after the announcement on Speaker Sheldon Silver’s arrest.

Lawmakers were supposed to start breaking down the governor’s budget the day after the State of the State Address. But now, democrats are keeping quiet while republicans are saying Silver’s arrest should have happened a long time ago.

The FBI in Albany says Silver turned himself in on Thursday morning in New York City. He is facing five counts of federal corruption charges. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Silver received more than $6 million in bribes from two law firms since 2002.

Silver maintained that the money was earned as outside income. Republicans say that these accusations don’t come as a shock.

“Where there’s smoke there’s fire,” Assembly member Dan Stec said. “Again, I’m a believer in our system – innocent until proven guilty. However the old saying – where there’s smoke there’s fire – I think is applicable, and I don’t think anyone’s shocked.”

Republican Assembly member Steve McLaughlin has been calling for Silver’s resignation for years. He calls the federal investigation the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“It’s a string of things that have gone on here,” he said. “From covering up sexual harassment of women to paying off victims which encourage more sexual harassment of women to not reporting income to abusing the tax payers by racking up frequent flyer miles at their expense. This is a bad guy, and I am glad that he was arrested this morning.”

Assembly Minority Leader Republican Brian Kolb also called for Silver’s resignation.

“I think he should resign as Speaker,” he said. “He does not have to resign as a member unless he is convcited of a felony. But the role of Speaker is so important to the operation of the insitution and to do business of the People’s State of New York, I think that’s the role he has to step down from.”

But democrats feel Silver is still capable of continuing his job as Speaker.

“This is a process. You know, we have a rule of law, and I will allow this to play out,” Democratic Assembly member Patricia Fahy said.

Democratic members were conferencing on Thursday morning. NEWS10 ABC reached out to many of them who said they are holding off on comments right now.

Democratic Assembly member John McDonald says he is not making judgments until more information comes out. He says he did the same thing for Republican Joe Bruno and will reserve judgment for Silver as well.​

“I never condemned Joe Bruno,” he said. “I don’t condemn the Speaker. There is a process. There is a process with the Speaker. We will go through that process.”

Assembly woman Fahy said Silver is expected to return to the Capitol on Monday.

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