Recently, the state of New York has been plagued with political scandal. Disgraced Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned under intense pressure. Kathy Hochul replaced Cuomo. She was the first female governor in state history, albeit appointed, not elected.
Henceforth, many of Hochul’s policy decisions have been scrutinized. However, none so much as what is certainly about to unfold. Facing an upcoming gubernatorial election, Hochul is now staring down criminal allegations against her appointed Lieutenant Governor.
Hochul selected a rising star in the New York Democrat Party, Brian Benjamin. But Benjamin’s shining star just got tainted. According to a report from ABC News 7 in New York, Benjamin surrendered to authorities to comply with a warrant for his arrest.
Benjamin is apparently facing multiple charges, including bribery. New York’s NBC News 4 added additional details to the story. It’s alleged that Benjamin “knowingly engaged in a campaign finance fraud scheme.”
Manhattan federal prosecutors, in conjunction with the FBI, are handling the investigation. Investigators in the case are drawing a connection with Benjamin’s abuse of state money doled out to contributors for personal projects.
According to the governor’s office, Benjamin failed to disclose a subpoena he received in relation to this case. The subpoena was to answer questions about Benjamin’s relation to an aide, Gerry Migdol. Benjamin was a state senator when the subpoena was issued.
He is accused of being complicit in a fraudulent campaign scheme orchestrated by Migdol. Migdol reportedly faked campaign donation amounts to help boost fundraising. The scheme was to generate larger public matching funds for Benjamin.
Migdol has been arrested and charged with soliciting fake campaign donations. Now, it appears the investigation has netted the current New York Lieutenant Governor as well. Despite facing a difficult reelection bid, Hochul is sticking with Benjamin as her running mate.
Hochul told the media, “I have utmost confidence in my lieutenant governor. He is my running mate.” As the federal investigation unfolds, we’ll have to see how long that level of dedication continues. Stronger evidence could be a campaign killer before the campaign even gets started.
Photo Credit: YouTube/CBS New York