New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin Arrested in Campaign Funding Scheme

Mr Benjamin will almost certainly be pressured to resign from his post. Even if he were to step down, he is likely to remain on the ballot in June, when he faces two fiery primary opponents. Since Mr. Benjamin was nominated as the Democratic Party’s nominee for lieutenant governor, his name could only be removed at this point if he were to leave the state, die or seek another office.

Mr Benjamin said last week he had been cooperating with investigators, after news outlets including the New York Times reported details of the investigation. Accompanied by his lawyers, the lieutenant governor met with prosecutors last week, according to a person familiar with the matter, and his top aides privately assured his allies that he expected to be cleared of any wrongdoing.

But at the press conference, Mr. Williams – who announced the charges with Michael J. Driscoll, the deputy director in charge of the FBI’s New York office, and Jocelyn E. Strauber, commissioner of the city’s investigative department – presented a bold strategy corruption regime. The indictment accused Mr. Benjamin of bribing Mr. Migdol to help him obtain small contributions for his comptroller run that could be used to obtain tens of thousands of dollars in government matching funds by the through a municipal program.

Prosecutors said Mr. Benjamin first asked Mr. Migdol for help in March 2019, months before he announced a campaign for the comptroller job. In a meeting at Mr. Migdol’s home, the promoter told Mr. Benjamin that it would be difficult to help because the group of potential contributors he would turn to were the same ones he needed to approach to support his own charity, Friends of Public School Harlem, a group known for distributing school supplies and groceries to families in need.

“Let me see what I can do,” Mr. Benjamin replied, according to the indictment.

In the months that followed, prosecutors said, the politician used his state Senate office to secure a $50,000 taxpayer-funded education grant for the charity Mr. Migdol n had ever asked, and used it as leverage to pressure Mr. Migdol to collect contributions.

“Do you recognize the third entity on the list?” Mr. Benjamin texted Mr. Migdol in June, with a screenshot of Mr. Migdol’s charity listed among the projects receiving aid.

At a meeting in Mr. Benjamin’s office in Harlem two weeks later, Mr. Migdol presented him with three checks totaling $25,000 made out to his Senate campaign account – two in the name of the promoter’s relatives and one d an LLC he controlled, prosecutors said.

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