Top New York Democrat Questioned by Feds

New York lieutenant governor Brian Benjamin (D.) / Getty Images
March 28, 2022

Federal authorities questioned New York lieutenant governor Brian Benjamin (D.), a "defund the police" advocate, as part of an investigation into his role in funneling illegal campaign contributions.

Benjamin admitted that federal law enforcement authorities interviewed him this year "in connection with the conspiracy and wire fraud charges filed in November against Harlem landlord and lawyer Gerald Migdol," the New York Post reported Monday.

Migdol, a longtime Democratic donor who hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, is accused of making illegal "straw" donations to Benjamin's failed campaign for New York City comptroller so that Benjamin could qualify for taxpayer-funded Board of Elections contributions.

If convicted, Migdol could face more than 40 years in prison.

New York governor Kathy Hochul (D.) picked Benjamin, who represented Harlem in the state Senate, as her lieutenant following disgraced governor Andrew Cuomo's resignation in August. Hochul has broken from Benjamin on multiple issues, however, including the "defund the police" movement, which he made "a central component of his failed campaign for city comptroller."

While Benjamin told the Post that "neither he nor Hochul was under investigation," prosecutors have issued subpoenas to the lieutenant governor's campaign committee and to the state Senate, the New York Times reported Sunday.

Both Benjamin and Hochul are running this year for full four-year terms.