UPDATE: Since the initial reporting, Governor Hochul has come out and says she accepts Benjamin’s resignation.
ALBANY, NY – New York’s Lieutenant Governor, Brian Benjamin, has been arrested on campaign finance charges.
The indictment charges him with bribery.
The question still remains— what will the lieutenant governor do in the wake of the investigation?
We are still waiting to hear from the Governor.
She has yet to release a statement as well.
When asked last Monday if she was aware of Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin’s subpoena of his campaign before she appointed him as Lieutenant Governor, Governor Hochul simply responding that she was not aware,
Last Thursday, The Governor was asked again about the issue during her budget press conference, this time Benjamin was in the room.
“I have upmost confidence in my Lieutanant governor. This is an independent investigation related to other people and he is fully cooperating,” says Hochul.
“The state police did a Thorough investigation. I participated in that and the state police gave a recommendation to the governor. And that was the process. That typically is the process for any appointments. I followed the process as it was supposed to be followed,” Benjamin.
Many Republicans and even some democrats are now calling for the Lieutenant Governor to resign after his arrest.
“I think it’s pretty important that he does. These are very serious allegations. He has been under investigation I think for sometime, but now that he has been arrested, I don’t see how he can preform his job duties going forward with this cloud over his head,” says Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay.
The Democratic Primary is in June. I asked the New York State Board of Elections if Benjamin’s arrest could take him off the ballot.
I was told no, but a conviction would put him out of office by operation of law. HOWEVER, he’d still be on the ballot, even if he were to resign from office.
While I’m told Hochul could pick a new sitting Lieutenant Governor IF that were to happen, it still does not change Benjamin’s ballot status.
Now, if he were to resign, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins would become acting Lieutenant Governor but would still keep her role as majority leader.