|Sheldon Silver facing reporters following his arrest (New York Times/Sam Hodsgon Photo)|
. . . “For many years, New Yorkers have asked the question — how could Speaker Silver, one of the most powerful men in all of New York, earn millions of dollars in outside income without deeply compromising his ability to honestly serve his constituents?” Mr. Bharara said at a news conference. “Today, we provide the answer: He didn’t.”
Mr. Bharara said Mr. Silver had produced “a nice profit on being a public official.” He added, “Politicians are supposed to be on the people’s payroll, not on secret retainer to wealthy special interests they do favors for.” . . .
“As alleged, Silver took advantage of the political pulpit to benefit from unlawful profits,” he said. “When all was said and done, he amassed nearly $4 million in illegitimate proceeds and arranged for approximately $500,000 in state funds to be used for projects that benefited his personal plans.”
The criminal complaint outlining the charges accuses Mr. Silver of “using the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself millions of dollars of bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income.”
He is charged with honest services mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud, extortion “under the color of law” — using his official position to commit extortion — and extortion conspiracy.
The complaint maintains that for more than a decade, Mr. Silver devised a scheme “to induce real estate developers with business before the state” to use a real estate law firm controlled by a lawyer who had once worked as Mr. Silver’s counsel. That lawyer, according to the complaint, orchestrated payments to the speaker for referrals to the firm . .I'll let you in on a secret. This same practice has taken place in Indiana for decades; it's just that the corrupt politicians are lucky only political hacks are appointed as federal prosecutors in the Southern District of Indiana, who effectively insulate the ruling corrupt establishment from prosecution for their criminal transgressions.