2007_05_cole.jpgNY State Assemblyman Michael Cole was censured and stripped of a number of privileges after it was revealed he got drunk with an intern and slept in her home. Yes, lawmakers still make exceptionally poor decisions.

The investigation into Cole's activities started last week; he and the unnamed intern were watching a Buffalo Sabres-New York Islanders playoff game in April, and afterwards, Cole walked her home. Cole, who is serving his first term as a Republican assemblyman representing parts of Eric and Niagara Counties and is married with two children, decided to sleep in her bedroom floor, versus taking a cab home or going to a motel.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon issued a damning letter of censure. Here are some excerpts per Times Union's Capitol Confidental blog, which writes that the a bi-partian ethics panel was "unanimous in its findings":

- Removal as ranking member of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee. He received a $9,000 stipend on top of his $79,500 salary.
- Barring him from participating in the Assembly Intern Program
- Forfeiture of any rights and privileges of seniority
- the public letter

“…your conduct exhibited a profound lack of respect or appreciation for the appropriate and positive role the Policy envisions for Member of the Assembly, with respect to student interns,” Silver wrote, saying the program had been “compromised for individual students and diminished in general.”

The committee, Silver said, concluded that Cole had watched a hockey game at a sports bar “drinking a significant amount of alcohol” with the intern, and then went home with her, chatting there with another intern who was her roommate. “After the conversation, you and the individual you walked home with went to her bedroom, where you stayed until morning.”

Good one, being a member of the Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse! Maybe he and some other pols can start the Committee on Bad Decisions.

Cole accepts responsibility, issuing a statement, "As wrong as it sounds now, at the time I didn’t think it was such a bad decision to sleep there, being that I was incapable of driving. But it was. I should have taken a cab home. At no point in time did anything inappropriate occur, nor has anything been alleged.” But WTF was he thinking sleeping on her bedroom floor. Why not the living couch?

Capitol Confidential reports that the intern was "removed from the program, but her school gave her the college credits for it, and an 'A' grade." And it's important to note that the Assembly adopted an "anti-fraternization policy" in 2004 due to other high-profile incidents of Albany hijinks; the AP reminds us "Silver's former top counsel, Michael Boxley, had pleaded guilty to a sexual misconduct charge and been sentenced to six years probation and fined $1,000.."