Up until this week, New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin ranked among his state’s most powerful Democrats. Yet as Breitbart announced this week, a recent scandal has forced Benjamin to step down.
U.S. attorney says lieutenant governor engaged in “bribery, plain and simple”
Breitbart cited a report from the Associated Press which stated that Benjamin’s resignation came on Tuesday following an arrest and a federal indictment.
Authorities allege that he used his former position as a state senator to secure a $50,000 grant for a non-profit organization controlled by a real estate developer.
The real estate developer is said to have provided campaign funds in exchange for the favorable treatment, something Benjamin allegedly covered up using falsified campaign donor forms.
The Hill quoted United States Attorney Damian Williams as saying during a press conference that the charges against Benjamin amount to “a simple story of corruption.”
“Taxpayer money for campaign contributions. A quid quo pro. This for that. That’s bribery, plain and simple,” the federal prosecutor insisted.
Benjamin’s name will remain on the ballot
Williams also said in a written statement that the lieutenant governor had “abused his power” in pursuit of campaign funds.
Meanwhile, The New York Times quoted Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul as saying that she has “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,” Hochul continued.
“New Yorkers deserve absolute confidence in their government, and I will continue working every day to deliver for them,” she added. Hochul held the position of lieutenant governor before former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation last year amid sexual misconduct allegations, and she appointed Benjamin to take her place.
Interestingly, the Times noted that despite his resignation, Williams’ name will nevertheless still appear on the ballot in this year’s New York Democratic primary election.
“Because Mr. Benjamin was designated as the Democratic Party’s nominee for lieutenant governor, his name could only be removed at this point if he were to move out of the state, die or seek another office,” the paper stated.