Silver on the Spitzer-Gonzales Analogy

A number of conservatives have tried to make the argument that there's an obvious parallel between Alberto Gonzales, who was criticized for his lack of candor when testifying before congress, and Eliot Spitzer, whose top aides came under fire for their lack of cooperation when questioned by the state Attorney General.

Yesterday, Chuck Schumer tried turning around that analogy, saying people have begun to ease up on Gonzales now that he resigned his job as the U.S. Attorney General, and that people should do likewise when it comes to Spitzer.

At a community meeting in Manhattan last night, I asked Sheldon Silver if comparing Spitzer and Gonzales was fair. Here's what he said.

"I don't think it's a fair comparison. Number one, in the Spitzer case, the Spitzer-Bruno case, both matters were referred to the attorney general for determinations of legality. After an examination by the attorney general, who is the highest ranking legal officer in the state, he determined there were no laws broken.

"Second, the Ethics Commission, lead by Dean Feerick, who has an outstanding reputation for honesty and fairness, has undertaken to examine the issue. Third, the Albany County District Attorney has undertaken to examine the issue for points of legality, and whether any criminal laws [were broken]. That was only the Spitzer aspect of it.

"For me, I accept the determination of the attorney general. There were no illegalities. I accept that. And, you know, that should be the final word. In that respect, I believe we should move on, governing the state of New York and forget the political aspect of it.

"I mean, these hearings that the Senate thinks they want to do in addition to eveything that's been done by the ethics comission and the Albany County district attorney, I think, is superfluous. And I think its an attempt to politicize the situation, rather than deal with the issues that affect people…"