After his Tuesday arrest in a federal bribery conspiracy case, Governor Brian Benjamin, Democrat New York Lieutenant Governor, resigned. Kathy Hochul (D-NY), announced. Hochul selected Benjamin as her Lieutenant Governor. A year ago, Hochul said:
Effective immediately, I have accepted Brian Benjamin’s resignation. We both know that Brian Benjamin cannot continue as Lieutenant Governor while the legal process unfolds. New Yorkers deserve to have complete confidence in their government. I will continue to work every day to fulfill that promise.
Benjamin’s resignation was announced hours after he surrendered before federal authorities. He was charged with one count federal bribery and one count wire fraud. Additionally, he was charged with two counts falsifying records.
Benjamin was accused of conspiring to receive campaign contributions from a real-estate developer in return for Benjamin’s agreement as a senator to use his influence to secure a $50,000 grant of state money for a nonprofit organization controlled by the developer.
According to the indictment, Benjamin and others who acted under his direction or on his behalf engaged in a series deceptions and lies in order to cover up his scheme.
According to the indictment, they falsified campaign donor records, misled municipal regulators, and submitted false information on vetting forms Benjamin submitted as he was being considered for lieutenant governor.
United States Attorney Damian Williams called Benjamin’s actions “a quid pro quo.”
“This is just one example of corruption. Campaign contributions are funded by taxpayer money. A quid quo pro. This is for that. Williams stated this during a press conference just before Benjamin’s resignation.
Williams also stated that Benjamin “abused” his power in a written statement.
Williams stated that Brian Benjamin, a New York state senator, used his power to secure a grant from the state in return for contributions to his political campaigns. Benjamin used his power to effectively use state funds to support his political campaign by doing this.
After former governor, Hochul became New York’s governor. Andrew Cuomo (D), who resigned in the wake of a scandal involving sexual harassment, is running this year for governor with Benjamin as her running partner.
Benjamin resigned but his name will likely remain on the Democrat primary ballot in June. According to the New York Times, Benjamin was the Democratic Party’s nominee as lieutenant governor. His name cannot be removed at this time if he moves out of the state, is killed or seeks another office.