Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) claims that the payout of taxpayer money he authorized in the Assemb. Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) sexual harassment case was both "ethical and legal" ["Ethics commission to meet amid Lopez controversy," News, Aug. 31].

If this was truly done in a legal manner, our laws must change. If not unlawful, utilizing our tax dollars to protect an elected politician and silence his accusers is certainly ethically reprehensible and fiscally irresponsible.

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All other state agencies and employees are rightfully under intense financial and ethical scrutiny. In these challenging times, our elected officials must be held to the same standard.

As we wait for the findings of the state ethics commission investigation, Lopez and Silver should both resign. Anything less would create a black mark for all state elected officials.

Joel Ratner, East Meadow