Sheldon Silver is an American politician from New York State, who has held the office of Speaker of the New York State Assembly since 1994. Silver represents the 65th Assembly District, identifies as an Orthodox Jew, and has lived on Manhattan's Lower East side for his entire life. After graduating from Rabbi Jacob Joseph High School in Manhattan where he was a popular athlete, he obtained his undergraduate degree at Yeshiva University and went on to complete his Law degree from Brooklyn Law School. Following his college years, Silver spent time at a private law practice and as a law secretary for New York Civil Court Judge Francis Pecora.
Silver was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1976 and became chairman of the Assembly Ways and Means committee in 1992. He abdicated that position when he was elected as the Speaker of the Assembly on February 11, 1994. He played an integral role in reinstating the death penalty in New York in 1995, and assisted in the 1999 repeal of NYC's commuter tax.
On January 22, 2015, Sheldon Silver was arrested on federal corruption charges. The accusations allege that Silver received bribes and other bonuses from a small law firm specializing in lowering real estate taxes. Authorities and investigators claim that Silver did not list the payments from the law firm on his annual financial disclosures to the state. It is estimated that Silver received over $6 million in bribes and kickbacks.
A New York federal grand jury indicted Silver on corruption charges on February 19, 2015.