Throughout the last few months, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been faced with mounting pressure regarding his handling of the Vito Lopez sexual harassment allegations. First, the news of the financial settlements that had been reached with two victims emerged and now lawsuits brought by additional plaintiffs have been filed and have brought an unprecedented degree of scrutiny to the legislature's handling of sexual harassment and discrimination claims.
One of Silver's leading critics is New York State Republican Party Chairman Edward Cox, who is also an attorney. Cox believes that Silver failed to follow Assembly rules and should have initially referred the matter to the Legislative Ethics Committee. Additionally, Cox believes Silver should have appointed a special prosecutor in this matter. Silver's spokesman has rebutted these claims by accusing Cox of being hypocritical in that Cox's law firm is one of the leading national law firms who have a practice in defending companies and organizations against discrimination claims.
Additionally, Silver's supporters have also made the argument that Republicans are using the Lopez cases to deflect away from their supposed failure to take legislative action on women's issues like pay equity and certain domestic violence issues.
Additional reporting on this issue is in the New York Daily News.