ALBANY — Sheldon Silver, who lost his seat in the State Assembly after he was convicted of seven federal felonies on Monday, has filed paperwork to receive a state pension.
According to Nikki Jones, a spokeswoman for Comptroller Tom DiNapoli — whose office oversees the retirement system — Silver’s paperwork was received on Tuesday and requested an immediate retirement date.
Jones declined to estimate Silver’s pension, but analysts at the Empire Center, a fiscally conservative think tank, said it could be $98,010 a year. In 2011, the Legislature passed a law that would strip pensions from elected officials convicted of public corruption offenses, but lawmakers who were already in office were not subject to its provisions.
Silver was first elected in 1976, and served as speaker for two decades, before resigning his leadership post after he was arrested earlier this year.
Lawmakers announced plans after Silver’s indictment in January to amend the State Constitution to strip pensions from a lawmaker “convicted of a felony related to public office,” retroactive to 1940. But a dispute between Democrats who dominate the Assembly and Republicans who control the State Senate over the exact wording of an amendment has stalled progress. To change the constitution, an amendment must be approved by two successively-elected crops of legislators, as well a the general public. As such, no change could take effect until 2017.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who brought the charges against Silver, has vowed to try and claw back his state pension through forfeiture claims.
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