May 21, 2013The Honorable Andrew M. CuomoGovernor of New York StateNew York State Capitol BuildingAlbany, NY 12224Dear Governor:
Albany’s scourge of sexual harassment
has been covered up for too many years by a corrupt politicalsystem, exemplified by three known payments of government funds by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silverdating back to 1995. Both the Joint Committee on Public Ethics (JCOPE) and Richmond County DistrictAttorney Dan Donovan have released reports on the latest incidents detailing
Vito Lopez’ and SpeakerSilver’s contemptible actions.
The facts have outraged the public, have prompted editorial boards across the State to call for Sheldon
as Speaker, and other charges of abuse of office have been leveled at the Speaker.Yet the reports
permit Vito Lopez, as he seeks another public office, to claim that he hasnot been charged with even a misdemeanor, let alone a felony. Silver can accurately claim that he hasnot even been charged with an ethical violation.The dichotomy between the outrageous facts and the weak charges is due to mandated restrictions onthe scope and purposes of the investigations underlying the reports.The authority of the Donovan investigation of Lopez was limited to infractions that occurred in KingsCounty
, although most of Lopez’ heinous assaults occurred in Albany and other locations inside and
outside of New York State.JCOPE, which is structured
to give Silver’s appointees a plenary veto power,
was not empowered toinvestigate
ethical infractions.The only way to ensure a complete and thorough multijurisdictional investigation is for you to use thepowers granted to you as Governor to either refer this matter to the Attorney General, who may have aconflict of interest, or appoint a special prosecutor, who would not be subject to the same constraints asJCOPE or the Richmond County District Attorney.