Sheldon Silver earned up to $450G as attorney in 2012

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) in his office Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) in his office in the Capitol in Albany. (Jan. 24, 2012) Photo Credit: Ted Phillips

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New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver earned $350,000 to $450,000 last year as an attorney, according to new financial disclosures made public Wednesday.

That outside income reported by the longtime leader of the Assembly's Democratic majority came from his work for the Weitz & Luxenberg law firm in Manhattan.

Silver and his wife also reported a stock portfolio valued from $777,000 to $1.99 million. In addition, they disclosed having $1.82 million to $2.32 million in retirement funds and deferred compensation.

Silver's earnings dwarfed those reported by State Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), who earned $150,000 to $250,000 as a lawyer for the Uniondale firm Ruskin Moscou & Faltischek, according to the filings. Skelos disclosed a stock portfolio valued from $44,000 to $181,000 and a state deferred compensation plan worth $250,000 to $500,000.

The filings are the first round of more detailed disclosures required from all state legislators under a 2011 law designed to reveal potential conflicts of interest from outside financial interests.

The top statewide elected officials -- the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and comptroller -- were already required to file financial disclosures.

"The more information they get, the better," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said of the public's right to know. "The secrecy breeds suspicion, and I think that's been feeding on itself."

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Albany has been gripped by a recent series of scandals and indictments, and the new disclosures, released by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, include the real estate and the names of the individual securities owned by the legislators and their spouses.

"Now that we know how they are invested, it should be interesting to see what influence this might have on their legislation and how they vote," said Bill Mahoney of the New York Public Interest Research Group, an advocacy group.

Insurance and medical groups have long complained that Silver's practice at a firm specializing in personal injury law has made him less likely to limit malpractice awards.

State Senate co-leader Jeff Klein, a Bronx Democrat, disclosed earnings of $50,000 to $75,000 last year as a partner with Klein Calderoni & Santucci in the Bronx.

Klein reported securities of $207,000 to $422,000, and a state deferred compensation plan worth $250,000 to $500,000.

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