NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has come under criticism for hosting a political fundraiser on 9/11.
Silver hosted a meet and greet luncheon on Tuesday, with some attendees donating money to Assemblywoman Grace Meng, a Democratic Congressional candidate.
Speaker Silver was instrumental in getting the state to move its primaries to two days after Sept. 11, and said “Sept. 11 is a day that people should reflect on what happened,” CBS 2′s Tony Aiello reported.
Meng’s Republican challenger for the Congressional seat slammed Silver for holding a political event in New York on the 11th anniversary of the terror attacks.
“I think it’s incredibly inappropriate. I have not heard of a single politician in New York, let alone around the country, who would have a fundraiser on 9/11,” Republican candidate Dan Halloran told Aiello.
Some have called this an ill-timed fundraiser because of the date and because it came right on the heels of the Vito Lopez payout scandal, Aiello reported.
“It was an inappropriate event to be held on the day of 9/11,” said Dick Dadey with the group Citizens Union.
Silver is being investigated for approving a confidential settlement stemming from sex harassment claims against Lopez, a Brooklyn Democrat.
Dadey said Silver will face a big question from investigators with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
“Was he and Vito Lopez trying to keep this secret, not just for the privacy of the victims, but to protect their own individual reputations?” Dadey said.
Amid the growing scandal, Speaker Silver has hired Stu Loeser, a long-time aide to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for strategic advice on handling the scandal.
Representatives for Silver and Meng have defended their political luncheon on 9/11, saying they also attended 9/11 anniversary events.
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