Albany, N.Y. - The state Assembly has entered into two contracts worth $205,000 for an outside counsel to handle sexual harassment policy development and investigations after a high-profile scandal.

The state comptroller's office says Tuesday the approval is for contracts with Rossein Associates. A spokesman for Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says the firm was retained by the Ethics Committee as part of reforms announced in May.

Silver faced harsh criticism last year for a $103,000 settlement using public money to silence the first accusations against veteran Assemblyman Vito Lopez.  Lopez resigned and has denied the accusations.

Merrick Rossein is a law professor at the City University of New York Law School at Queens College.