New York Dealing With Another Scandal Inside Governor’s Office
The second-highest-ranked elected official in New York is stepping down following another alleged scandal.
On Tuesday, the FBI and United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York court charged New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin with bribery and related offenses.
Scandal in New York
“Exploiting one’s official authority by allocating state funds as part of a bribe to procure donations to a political campaign, and engaging in activity to cover up the bribe, is illegal. As we allege today, Benjamin’s conduct in this scheme directly circumvents those procedures put in place to keep our systems fair," FBI New York Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael J. Driscoll said.
New York Lieutenant Governor Arrested
Benjamin, 45, of Harlem allegedly used his official authority while a New York State Senator to get a state-funded grant in exchange for campaign contributions.
New York Lieutenant Governor Accused of Bribery, More
“As alleged, Brian Benjamin used his power as a New York state senator to secure a state-funded grant in exchange for contributions to his own political campaigns. By doing so, Benjamin abused his power and effectively used state funds to support his political campaigns," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.
Benjamin is charged with bribery, honest services wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit those offenses, based on his alleged use of his official authority while a New York State Senator to direct a state-funded grant to an organization controlled by a real estate developer in exchange for campaign contributions made and given by the real estate developer.
He is also charged with two counts of falsifying records in connection with the preparation of contribution forms that falsely reported certain contributions made by the real estate developer as being made by other individuals and false statements he made in a questionnaire he submitted while seeking to become Lieutenant Governor, officials say.
New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin is accused of directing a 50-thousand-dollar state grant to a non-profit connected to a campaign donor that gave tens of thousands of dollars toward his election bids.
New York Lieutenant Governor Resigns
The Lieutenant Governor surrendered to the FBI Tuesday morning and resigned from his position as Lieutenant Governor. A Lieutenant Governor is the highest-ranking officer of state after the Governor.
Gov. Kathy Hochul appointed Benjamin for the role last year, after then New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned as Governor over sexual harassment allegations.
"I have accepted Brian Benjamin's resignation effective immediately. While the legal process plays out, it is clear to both of us that he cannot continue to serve as Lieutenant Governor. New Yorkers deserve absolute confidence in their government, and I will continue working every day to deliver for them," Hochul stated.
Benjamin has pleaded not guilty to the charges.