From the Morning Memo:

Sen. Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat who caucuses with the Republicans, called me last night saying he wanted to react to a Times Union report that his chief of staff has been accused of groping and harassing a female lobbyist at a fundraiser for Capital Region GOP Sen. George Amedore.

OK, I said, let’s hear it.

“These are serious allegations, and were reportedly immediately. I cannot comment any further at this time.”

When pressed for additional details, Felder referred repeatedly back to his statement.

He did say, however, that the staffer in question – Rodney C. Powis, an attorney from East Greenbush who works at a private law firm in Rensselaer County and has been a longtime Senate aide – is still on his payroll.

Felder has been an object of derision – and in some cases, outright disgust – for fellow Democrats since the former New York City councilman was elected to the state Senate in 2012 and soon after decided he would not sit with his party, instead assisting the Republicans in maintaining their slim hold on the majority in the chamber.

Felder has never been shy about saying that he will caucus with whichever side can enable him to best deliver for his constituents, which presumably means he would be willing to return to the Democratic fold if the Democrats are successful – as they and a number of outside observers continue to predict – in winning back the majority in the November elections.

Felder easily fought off a Democratic primary challenge last month by progressive candidate Blake Morris, defeating him by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.

It seems unlikely that Felder, a New York City native, found Powis on his own and hired him, and instead sort of inherited him from the Senate GOP when he decided to switch sides. East Greenbush is located in Rensselaer County, long a Republican stronghold and the political fiefdom of former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.

It has not been uncommon to see many local Republicans on the Senate payroll over the years.

In this #MeToo era, however, and has advocates who have experienced sexual harassment in the state Legislature over the years ramp up their call for public hearings to be held on the issue, the accusations against Powis could prove highly problematic for Felder. At the very least, they could give his fellow Democrats additional fuel to use against him.