Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the New York State Assembly and one of the most influential lawmakers in Albany for two decades, was reportedly arrested Thursday on federal corruption charges.
Silver, a Democrat representing lower Manhattan, surrendered to the FBI Thursday morning, and is scheduled to appear in federal court later in the day, according to news reports.
“I hope I’ll be vindicated,” Silver said outside the federal building in Manhattan on Thursday, according to The New York Times. The veteran lawmaker ascended to his role as speaker in 1994.
Late last March, Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, reportedly opened an investigation into Silver after Gov. Andrew Cuomo had unceremoniously disbanded the so-called Moreland Commission, which was set up in July 2013 to investigate corruption in Albany.
No charges have been announced.
The Times has reported that federal prosecutors have been looking into payments Silver received from a law firm specializing in reducing New York City property taxes, which he may have failed to document on his financial disclosure filings.
The New York Republican State Committee was quick to pounce. In a statement, the GOP called for Silver to step down.
“Sheldon Silver must immediately resign from the State Assembly,” said NYGOP spokesman David Laska. “While this is another sad day for New York, we cannot be distracted from the important business of growing our economy and creating jobs.”
It’s unclear who Silver’s successor would be.
Assemb. Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead) currently serves as Deputy Speaker. According to news reports, she is not in line for succession, should Silver leave office. She has not returned calls to her office for comment.