The reason most folks believe politicians are basically crooks is well illustrated by the recent actions of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Assemb. Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) ["Silver open to probe of $103G settlement," Aug. 30].

Lopez was accused of sexual harassment and Silver agreed in secret negotiations to award two accusers a total of $103,000 in taxpayer money to settle the cases.

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Since this has become public knowledge, Silver has "decided" to be open to a probe of the matter. He's a day late and a dollar short.

Following a committee recommendation, Silver also stripped Lopez of his post as housing committee chairman and reduced his staff to that of a freshman legislator.

Oh the pain! Only in government is this tolerated. In private industry, Lopez would be terminated (and I don't mean allowed to retire with full benefits) and Silver would be thrown out for a major breach of ethics. Unfortunately we have allowed politicians to legally insulate themselves against almost any personal wrongdoing. Shame on us.

Christopher D. Reilly

Coram