Following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told the Daily News that he wanted to outright ban modern sporting rifles.
“What we are looking for is a complete ban on assault weapons,” Silver told the publication.
I may not be a perfect person myself, but what kind of individual would openly advocate for the confiscation of lawfully owned property from law-abiding citizens? Moreover, what kind of person would openly and enthusiastically sponsor the mightily flawed NY SAFE Act, which among other onerous provisions put a retroactive ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds?
Well, in the light of Silver’s arrest Thursday on corruption charges for amassing a $4 million fortune from payoffs and kickbacks, I think we’re beginning to understand what kind of person we’re talking about.
Yes, Silver is an ardent gun-control supporter. Yes, he sponsored the SAFE Act. And yes, it appears he is a criminal. Is there a connection there? Maybe. Maybe not. But it’s interesting to note that he’s not the only high-profile gun-control supporter in office to get busted for nefarious activity in recent memory. Back in March, California state Sen. Leland Yee was busted for gun trafficking and public corruption. Are we beginning to see a trend here?
In any event, here’s what U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara had to say on Silver’s arrest:
Over his decades in office, Speaker Silver has amassed titanic political power. But, as alleged, during that same time, Silver also amassed a tremendous personal fortune – through the abuse of that political power. All told, we allege that Silver corruptly collected some $4 million in bribes and kickbacks disguised as ‘referral fees.’ Those disguised bribes and kickbacks account for approximately two-thirds of all of Silver’s outside income since 2002.
Politicians are supposed to be on the people’s payroll, not on secret retainer to wealthy special interests they do favors for. These charges go to the very core of what ails Albany – a lack of transparency, lack of accountability, and lack of principle joined with an overabundance of greed, cronyism, and self-dealing.