Democrat New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin Resigns After Arrest on Bribery Conspiracy Indictment 

Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin speaks during the New York State Democratic Convention in New York, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022.
Seth Wenig, File/AP

Democrat New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin resigned from office hours after his arrest on Tuesday on a federal bribery conspiracy indictment, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) announced.

Hochul, who selected Benjamin to serve as her Lt. Gov. less than a year ago, said:

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.

Benjamin’s resignation came hours after he surrendered to federal authorities and was arrested and charged with one count of federal bribery, one count of wire fraud, one county of conspiracy to commit those crimes, and two counts of falsifying records.

As the Associated Press reported:

Benjamin was accused of participating in a scheme to obtain campaign contributions from a real estate developer in exchange for Benjamin’s agreement to use his influence as a state senator to get a $50,000 grant of state funds for a nonprofit organization the developer controlled.


The indictment said Benjamin and others acting at his direction or on his behalf also engaged in a series of lies and deceptions to cover up the scheme.

They falsified campaign donor forms, misled municipal regulators and provided false information in vetting forms Benjamin submitted while he was being considered to be appointed as lieutenant governor, the indictment said.

United States Attorney Damian Williams called Benjamin’s actions “a quid pro quo.”

“This is a simple story of corruption. Taxpayer money for campaign contributions. A quid quo pro. This for that. That’s bribery, plain and simple,” Williams said during a press conference shortly before Benjamin’s resignation.

Williams also said Benjamin “abused his power” in a written statement.

“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,” Williams said. “By doing so, Benjamin abused his power and effectively used state funds to support his political campaigns.”

Hochul, who became New York’s governor after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal, is running for a full term as governor this year with Benjamin as her running mate.

Although Benjamin resigned, his name will likely still appear on the Democrat primary ballot this June. “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 New York Times reported.


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