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Politics Hochul and Lt. Gov. Benjamin dodge questions about botched N.Y. background check

01:11  24 november  2021
01:11  24 november  2021 Source:   nydailynews.com

NY Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin submitted incorrect information on background check before taking office

  NY Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin submitted incorrect information on background check before taking office According to the background check form signed by Benjamin, the former state senator answered “no” to an inquiry about whether he’d ever been contacted by “a regulatory body concerning any possible legal, regulatory, ethical, or campaign finance, infraction or violation or investigation.” © Darren McGee New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin New York Lt. Gov.

While Gov . Kathy Hochul was in New York City on Saturday, she made a stop in Harlem at the National Action Network House of Justice.

Hochul Picks State Senator Brian Benjamin as Lieutenant Governor . Gov . Kathy Hochul , who had narrowed her choices to several New York City lawmakers who are people of color, chose Mr. Benjamin , a state senator from Harlem. Brian Benjamin , the senior assistant majority leader in the During his run for comptroller, Mr. Benjamin ’s campaign relinquished nearly two dozen donations after The City raised questions about their authenticity. Mr. Benjamin trailed badly in the race and did not seem to gain significant traction, perhaps raising questions about how many votes from New York

Gov. Hochul and Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin continued to dodge questions Tuesday about inaccurate information Benjamin provided for a background check before he was sworn in as Hochul’s second in command.

Hochul, who appeared alongside Cardinal Timothy Dolan at a Thanksgiving food giveaway in Harlem, refused to respond when asked why she accepted Benjamin’s background check given that it contained easily demonstrable inaccuracies.

As she ignored the question, her spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays attempted to block a Daily News reporter from approaching, contending that “we’re getting in the way of the hungry people.”

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Hochul joined by Lt . Gov Benjamin for announcement (WRGB). ALBANY, N . Y . (AP) -- New Yorkers will be able to avoid jail time for most nonviolent parole violations under a new law signed by Gov . Kathy Hochul . The law signed Friday largely eliminates New York's practice of incarcerating people for technical parole violations that include being late to an appointment with a parole officer, missing curfew, changing a residence without approval, and failing to attend a mandated program.

BUFFALO, N . Y . — Lt . Gov . Benjamin said Williams is doing a good job in his current role and he should stay there. "Whatever he wants to do or whatever anyone else wants to do, that's not our focus. Our focus is on making sure that New York state is growing," he said. Another potential challenger to Hochul , Attorney General Tish James, has dodged questions about her future plans but did criticize the former governor this week for not holding himself accountable for his actions .

New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin (left) and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (right) © Richard Drew New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin (left) and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (right)

New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin (left) and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (right) (Richard Drew/)

The follow-up from The News came a day after it reported exclusively about how Benjamin provided inaccurate answers in response to his background check, and after The News posed a series of several questions that continue to go unanswered by both Hochul and Benjamin.

The background check forms, which were obtained by The News through a Freedom of Information Law request, show that on Aug. 16, Benjamin responded “No” when asked if he’d ever been contacted by a “regulatory body concerning any possible legal, regulatory, ethical, or campaign finance, infraction or violation or investigation.”

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Then Lt . Gov Kathy Hochul with Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. at the Dominican Republic parade in 2018. Hochul ’s office was strongly considering selecting Diaz as lieutenant governor . The campaign subsequently relinquished 23 donations that the supporter had bundled and sent to the campaign. Benjamin has never personally responded to questions about the donations. The campaign’s attorney wrote in a letter to the city Campaign Finance Board that Benjamin 2021 decided to return the funds “Based upon counsel’s further investigation as well as upon information reported

Kathy Hochul has selected Brian Benjamin , a Democratic state senator from Manhattan, to replace her as lieutenant governor , according to two sources with knowledge of the decision. Benjamin , 44, has represented a heavily Democratic, Harlem-based district in the Senate since 2017, championing But Benjamin 's selection was cheered by a number of his colleagues in the Senate, including Brooklyn Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte and Bronx Sen. Jamaal Bailey, who were also believed to be final contenders for the lieutenant governor role. "As we reimagine New York, we continue to move

But his own statements and news accounts show that his response is false.

Before signing off on the form, Benjamin, a former state Senator and city comptroller candidate, was contacted by both the state Board of Elections and the city Campaign Finance Board about two separate matters — one was the use of his Senate campaign finance account to help pay for a wedding celebration, and the other stems from donations to his comptroller’s run that are now being scrutinized by federal prosecutors.

Benjamin appears to have responded inaccurately to another background check inquiry into whether he’d ever “employed a lobbyist, or consultant who is in a firm with lobbyists.” His response again was “No,” but city Campaign Finance Board records show he employed both the Parkside Group and Pitta LLP for his comptroller’s run — both are registered lobbyists.

He also didn’t bother answering a question about whether donors, lobbyists or consultants for donors “will appear before you, directly or indirectly, in the position for which you seek to be appointed?”

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Kathy Hochul officially announced Sen. Brian Benjamin as the next lieutenant governor of New York State. Benjamin , who resides and represents Harlem, will be sworn in as lieutenant governor right after Labor Day. Benjamin is someone who, while in the State Senate, spearheaded policies such as criminal justice reform, affordable housing and tenant protections. Benjamin says as he looks at the year ahead, he is ready to tackle issues such as the rise in gun violence, getting rental assistance out the door and battling COVID-19.

New York Gov . Kathy Hochul announced state Sen. Brian Benjamin as her pick for the next lieutenant governor . Hochul took office Tuesday after the resignation of Andrew Cuomo amid a sexual harassment scandal. N . Y . governor adds 12,000 deaths to publicized COVID tally on 1st day in office.

When posed with two fill-in-the-blank boxes — yes or no — Benjamin didn’t fill in either — even though the form states that “every question must be answered.”

After reviewing the forms, The News sent Hochul and Benjamin several detailed questions about the discrepancies between Benjamin’s answers and what actually took place.

So far, Hochul and her press team have refused to say whether she intends to run alongside Benjamin in their respective re-election campaigns. They have declined to say whether the governor offered any input to Benjamin regarding the background check prior to him filling them out. And they would not fully explain why Hochul announced Benjamin as her pick for lieutenant governor and swore him in prior to the background check’s official completion by state police on Sept. 10.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan (left) and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (right) distribute food through the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York. © Provided by New York Daily News Cardinal Timothy Dolan (left) and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (right) distribute food through the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan (left) and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (right) distribute food through the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York.

Benjamin was sworn as lieutenant governor on Sept. 9, and Hochul first announced she would tap him for the role on Aug. 26.

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  Public advocate jumps into 2022 race for New York governor “There is a movement building in New York, a courageous progressive movement that challenges the powerful," Jumaane Williams says.Williams, in a two minute and 14 second video ad released late Monday evening, drew on his diagnosis with Tourette syndrome, saying that it has never defined him. He also spotlighted his years working as an activist and organizer.

In response to questions from The News, Crampton-Hays said on Monday that “as part of the selection process, we thoroughly reviewed Lieutenant Governor Benjamin’s background and experience, using extensive information in the public domain in addition to information he supplied.”

On Tuesday, she said Hochul’s announcement about Benjamin serving as lieutenant governor and the swearing-in occurred before the completion of the background check because of the “compressed timetable” created by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation. She also noted that Hochul’s transition team helped with the vetting process.

“We understand that the Lieutenant Governor is re-reviewing the information he submitted as a part of the selection process to ensure it is as thorough as possible,” she said.

Benjamin, who represented Harlem in the state Senate and was visiting upstate Tuesday, has remained mum for the most part as well.

He and his press team also refused to provide answers to several inquiries. Specifically, they didn’t address questions about whether Benjamin provided timelines to Hochul about his interactions with regulatory bodies prior to signing off on the background check form, or whether he was advised by an attorney while completing the forms, or how he conveyed the completed forms — whether they were delivered by hand, by email or through the mail.

Benjamin’s Chief of Staff Neil Reilly stated Monday that his boss “inadvertently missed a question on the questionnaire and will file an amendment to ensure it is completed.”

“He answered the remainder of the questionnaire honestly but plans to re-review it in the interest of thoroughness and transparency,” Reilly added.

On Tuesday, though, Reilly did not fully respond to several questions posed the day before, as well as a series of follow-up questions sent Tuesday.

With Clayton Guse

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