NYS Assembly Speaker Sanctions Republican Steve McLaughlin

Nov 29, 2017

The head of the New York state Assembly has issued sanctions against outgoing Capital Region Republican Steve McLaughlin following a harassment complaint. 

Democratic Speaker Carl Heastie announced Wednesday that McLaughlin will not be able to have interns for the rest of his term. The bi-partisan Assembly Ethics Committee says its independent counsel learned in June 2016 that a female Assembly employee had reported that McLaughlin had made offensive lewd comments to her.  

Earlier this year, a longtime aide said McLaughlin assaulted her. Tapes of an exchange, provided to the Times Union, feature McLaughlin using vulgar language. The aide later walked back the accusations. McLaughlin apologized.

McLaughlin won the race for Rensselaer County Executive earlier this month, a position he will assume next year.

Heastie also directed McLaughlin not to reveal the name of the complainant or the details of the allegations and investigation. The Republican has also been ordered to reimburse the Assembly for the cost of sexual harassment and retaliation prevention training he took in July. The Ethics Committee recommended the sanctions.   

The head of the New York state Assembly has issued sanctions against outgoing Capital Region Republican Steve McLaughlin following a harassment complaint. Democratic Speaker Carl Heastie announced Wednesday that McLaughlin will not be able to have interns for the rest of his term. The bi-partisan Assembly Ethics Committee says its independent counsel learned in June 2016 that a female Assembly employee had reported that McLaughlin had made offensive lewd comments to her. McLaughlin won the race for Rensselaer County Executive earlier this month, a position he will assume next year. The Ethics Committee recommended the sanctions. McLaughlin released a statement Wednesday in which he denied that he engaged in sexual misconduct and called the Committee’s actions a political hit job. 

Heastie's office says the Committee recommended:

  1. A letter of admonition be issued publicly to Assemblymember McLaughlin by the Speaker on behalf of the entire Assembly, enumerating the findings of the Committee and stating that Assemblymember McLaughlin's conduct violated the Assembly's Policy Prohibiting Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation as it pertains to sexual harassment and confidentiality, and is consistent with the standards of conduct to which Members of the Assembly should be held;
  2. Assemblymember McLaughlin be directed to cease revealing the name of the complainant and details of the allegations and investigation;
  3. Assemblymember McLaughlin be precluded from having any interns working in his Assembly or district office, and that the prohibition applies to interns assigned by the Assembly as well as any interns that might be engaged through unofficial channels; and
  4. Assemblymember McLaughlin be required to reimburse the Assembly for the cost of the comprehensive supplemental sexual harassment and retaliation prevention training he took in July 2017.