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Mike Groll, Associated Press
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's seat is empty before session in the Assembly Chamber at the state Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, in Albany, N.Y. Silver, who has been one of the most powerful men in Albany for more than two decades, was arrested Thursday on public corruption charges.

ALBANY, N.Y. — The arrest of one of New York's most powerful politicians on corruption charges is putting pressure on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other leaders to take on the state's long tradition of insider politics.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver faces federal charges that he took nearly $4 million in payoffs and kickbacks. The Manhattan Democrat is the sixth top lawmaker to face criminal charges in New York in six years.

Cuomo has said he's open to restrictions on the outside income lawmakers can earn, but critics say he hasn't done enough.

They also question the Democratic governor's decision to abruptly disband an anti-corruption panel last year that was investigating Silver and other lawmakers.

Silver says he is confident he will be vindicated.