ALBANY — The reversal of Sheldon Silver’s fraud and extortion conviction exposes major flaws in state and federal anti-corruption laws which can allow actions the public would consider obviously wrong to go unpunished, critics and lawmakers said Thursday.
“Right now, if I drop a bag cash at your door but we never talk about it, there may be no felony committed,” said Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), a former federal prosecutor turned elected official. He said the reversal reinforces voters’ cynicism: “They think, ‘Of course you can get away with it.’”
Kaminsky and others urged legislative action or even a constitutional convention to put some teeth in New York’s ethics laws after a federal appeals court vacated the conviction of Silver — who led the state Assembly for 20 years before being convicted in 2015 — because jury instructions didn’t comport with recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that effectively made it harder to convict elected officials on bribery charges.
Silver had been accused…
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