Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer weighed in—sort of—on his former legislative foe, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, but didn’t call for Silver to resign over a sexual harassment scandal in the chamber.
“I don’t think Shelly resigning is the single right answer to this,” Spitzer said on “The Capitol Pressroom.” “Having said all that, term limits is what we do need in Albany.”
Spitzer resigned in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal, and he warred with Silver in his first months in office over Silver’s pick for state comptroller. Silver and Assembly Democrats choose colleague Thomas DiNapoli over Spitzer’s objections.
Yet Spitzer refrained from criticizing Silver, the Manhattan Democrat, over Silver’s handling of sexual harassment complaints against disgraced former Assemblyman Vito Lopez. Silver admitted he didn’t move swiftly enough to punish Lopez and quietly agreed to a $103,000 taxpayer-funded settlement with Lopez’s first two accusers.
“Shelly did not, as I understand the facts and tell me if I’m wrong, he himself was not involved in any of the untoward activity,” Spitzer said. “His role was to not sanction nearly harshly enough, to participate in what was could be called a cover-up by some. That was wrong.”
Spitzer said Albany needs an overhaul.
“I think we have an ossification of political leadership that is ill serving the state. It creates a lack of new ideas and a lack of creativity,” Spitzer said.
Spitzer also stayed clear of knocking current Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tenure. The two have had an icy relationship.
Spitzer, however, did question whether Cuomo’s commission to root out corruption in Albany could be effective, saying “Moreland Acts can be useful, but they don’t prosecute or pass laws.”
Spitzer said he’s seeking the public’s forgiveness as he runs for New York City comptroller.
“Nobody enjoys absorbing those bodyblows, but if that is the hurdle one must overcome to participate, I will try to do that,” Spitzer said. “I’m given the public an option to bring back somebody who I think tried to be creative and thoughtful in the way I addressed public policy issues.”