” This time, it’s about sex. An all-too-detailed report on the Vito Lopez scandal reveals that the once-powerful assemblyman and Brooklyn Democratic leader harassed and humiliated his female staffers — demanding that they wear sexy clothes, playing with their hair, plying them with alcohol, luring them to hotel rooms and sticking his creepy hand up their skirts.
Perhaps most depressing of all was the reaction from Assembly Democrats when told their leader had turned a blind eye to despicable, potentially criminal behavior and put young women in harm’s way:
They excused him. They forgave him. They defended him. They praised his leadership.
Above all, they scoffed at the idea that the Manhattan Democrat’s 19-year reign as speaker should end.
The key to understanding all of this, as with so much of the corruption in Albany of late, is the corrosive culture of the Legislature.
And that begins and ends with the Democrat-controlled Assembly’s near-absolute boss rule.
As soon as they get elected, like it or not, Democrats forfeit virtually all of their power to Silver — who’s now been speaker for 19 years running — as their party leader and speaker.
Assembly members are independently elected, yes. They have their own ideas and their own duties to their districts and constituents.
But as soon as they cross the Capitol threshold, they basically become Silver’s employees.
He singlehandedly determines what laws his members can bring to the floor and pass, what committees they sit on, what hearings they hold and how much cash they’re allotted to hire staff and rent office space. He can even manipulate their salaries by awarding — or taking away — leadership posts that come with extra stipends ranging from $9,000 to $41,500.”