Republicans are trying to increase the pressure on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in the wake of the Assemb. Vito Lopez scandal.
State GOP chairman Ed Cox launched an online petition Tuesday calling for Silver (D-Manhattan) to resign following Silver’s admission that he mishandled sexual harassment allegations against Lopez (D-Brooklyn). Silver approved a $135,000 settlement — $103,000 of it in public money — instead of referring the charges to the Assembly Ethics Committee.
Republicans have criticized Silver not only for failing to refer that case but also for waiting to disclose it until after he censured Lopez regarding a second set of sexual harassment allegations.
Cox and a few other Republicans previously called on Silver to resign. Now, Cox is upping the ante a bit by initiating the petition.
Cox said, in part: “Faced with a member of his caucus who had on multiple occasions sexually harassed female staff members, Speaker Silver neglected to refer the matter to the (ethic committee) and instead took an active role in covering up the abuse …”
(Silver and numerous other politicians and activists have called on Lopez to step down. He has refused.)