A Buffalo assemblyman has split from the Democratic conference after a state ethics report showed Assembly leaders shielded sexual harassment allegations from public view.
Assemblyman Michael Kearns, D-Buffalo, will call on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to step down from his post at a news conference Monday afternoon, according to Kearns’ office. The lawmaker, who was elected in a special election last year, had been vocally critical of Silver during his campaign, but sat with Assembly Democrats despite initially winning on the Republican line.
Kearns becomes the first Democratic lawmaker to call for Silver’s ouster since he was portrayed negatively in the Joint Commission on Public Ethics report last week.
Both JCOPE and Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, in separate reports, faulted Silver for not referring initial harassment complaints against now-former Assemblyman Vito Lopez to the Assembly Ethics Committee and for including a confidentiality agreement in a settlement.