Silver Caves on Moonlighting Disclosures

Shel Silver does a sudden 180 on income disclosure

After years of refusing calls to publicly disclose his income and clients outside of his job as Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver has suddenly become a champion of disclosure in the name of ethics.

"Ethics requires limiting the influence of money in politics," Silver declared in heralding his new proposal that would make public the the pay and client lists of lawmakers' private careers, reported The New York Post.

The change of heart comes in the wake of Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith's call for his colleagues in Albany to forgo outside income altogether.

"I think the leadership should not have a second income," said Smith, former real estate developer. "I think as a leader, anyone in leadership, I would rather see just devote their full time to the job."

Smith believes that the conflicts of interest that has plagued Albany needs to stop. 

"There are enough circumstances and cases where it's gotten us in trouble, and it'd be better for everybody if we make sure that there's enough clarity in what we do and how we do it so we can be more focused on the business of the state."

Silver, arguably the most powerful man in the state, is paid $121,000 annually to serve as Speaker, but that apparently isn't enough to satisfy his needs.

For years he has maintained a position as counsel with Weitz & Luxenberg. Who are his clients? How much does he make? Nobody knows.

What is known is that Shel recently lent $50,000 to a company that funds personal injury lawsuits, an industry that has remained highly profitable thanks in large part to the legislature's refusal to tighten medical malpractice expenses.

Finally, New Yorkers will be able to follow the money.

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