NY Legislature Has Plan In Place To Consider Replacements For Eric Schneiderman

A bipartisan committee will look at successors for the state attorney general, who has resigned in disgrace. Its recommendations might not mean much, though.

Leaders of the New York State Legislature have zeroed in on a plan to replace former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who announced his resignation Monday night, hours after a bombshell report by The New Yorker detailed allegations by four women of physical abuse.

The plan, according to three sources familiar with the deliberations, is to assemble a special committee of four Democrats from the Assembly, one Republican from the Assembly, four Republicans from the state Senate and one Democrat from the Senate. Currently, Democrats control the Assembly by a wide margin, about 70 percent. Republicans control the state Senate by a one-seat margin.

Candidates who want to be considered have to submit their names for consideration by Friday and will be screened next week by the committee. After the committee presents its recommendation, a joint session of the Legislature will pick a replacement. However, sources who spoke to HuffPost on the condition of anonymity, because they weren’t authorized to talk about these plans publicly, cautioned that the recommendation isn’t a sure thing. If there is even a recommendation, given that the panel is split evenly, the sources said, it is not legally binding and Assembly Democrats can choose anyone they want, even if it’s someone not recommended or even considered by the committee.

In 2007, when former state Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi resigned as part of a plea deal, a joint session of the Legislature chose Thomas DiNapoli to replace him instead of picking from one of three recommendations made by a special committee. DiNapoli was serving as a member of the state Assembly when he was chosen.

The election for New York attorney general is in November.

A source close to U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), a former federal prosecutor and Nassau County district attorney, said that Rice will submit her name to the special committee for consideration. Regardless of the committee’s decision, Rice is preparing to run for New York attorney general, confirmed the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person wasn’t authorized to speak to the press. Rice ran against Schneiderman for attorney general in the 2010 Democratic primary but lost by 3 percentage points.

Two sources in the New York State Legislature confirmed that Tish James, New York City’s public advocate, was calling members of the Legislature to actively lobby for her appointment as attorney general.

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