NEW YORK (PIX11) — Federal prosecutors are looking into whether New York Lt. Gov. Brain Benjamin played a role in an illegal campaign contribution scheme during his 2021 run for New York City Comptroller, PIX11 News learned Monday.
During Benjamin’s run for comptroller, reporter Clifford Michel with the online news outlet THE CITY noticed there were several first-time donors to Benjamin’s campaign who were “donating via money order, which is a bit uncommon nowadays.”
Michel told PIX11 News he reached out to the listed donors, and said “three of them got back to us and were absolutely shocked and really worried that their names were on the campaign finance list.”
THE CITY eventually uncovered several contributions that appeared to be made to Benjamin’s campaign in the name of New Yorkers without their knowledge.
“His campaign, when we brought these findings to him, they strictly said that it was the bundler’s fault. They had no idea about this at all,” Michel said.
Months after that reporting, an associate of Benjamin, Gerry Migdol, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and identity theft. Migdol pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Political sources told PIX11 News federal prosecutors are now examining if Benjamin played a role in the alleged fraud. The lieutenant governor has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Benjamin’s office on Monday stood by a statement they first issued after Migdol’s arrest in November, telling PIX11 News, “as soon as the campaign discovered that these contributions were improperly sourced, they donated them to the Campaign Finance Board.”