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New York lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin was arrested Tuesday on federal bribery charges related to a scheme to funnel illegal contributions to his campaign for the office of New York City Comptroller in 2021, according to multiple reports.
Benjamin, who was tapped to be Gov. Kathy Hochul’s second-in-command last year after then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned, has been bedeviled in recent months by federal investigations surrounding his past campaign for comptroller, and his direction of public funds while he was a state senator for four years prior to his current role.
Benjamin is now accused of directing public funds to a Harlem investor, Gerald Migdol, in exchange for fraudulent contributions to Benjamin’s campaign for city comptroller last year, according to a federal indictment stemming from an investigation by the FBI, the US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York and New York City’s Department of Investigations.
The five-count indictment accuses Benjamin of bribery, wire fraud, falsification of records and related offenses.
Biden reveals steps to lower gas prices on Iowa trip
President Joe Biden announced Tuesday another step to try to reduce prices for drivers who have been paying more to fill up their tanks: expanding the availability of biofuels.
While visiting an ethanol plant in Iowa, Biden announced the administration plans on allowing that gasoline uses a 15% ethanol blend to be sold during the summer, according to senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
“You’re going to be able to keep filling up with E15,” Biden said, speaking in a large barn in front of an American flag flanked by tractors. “It’s not going to solve all our problems. But i’s going to help some people.”
What’s in the blend? Called E15, the blend can cost 10 cents per gallon less on average at the 2,300 gas where it’s sold, the officials said. There are about 145,000 gas stations around the country.
Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for OPIS, said allowing E15 to be sold during the summer is a good political move by the administration that will help some people save money, even though vehicles using E15 get slightly less gas mileage.
What are gas prices like now? Regular gas is averaging around $4.11 a gallon compared with $2.86 a year ago, according to AAA, and Biden is under political pressure to show he is doing what he can to ease the price pain at the pump.
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Will a ‘tamer’ Trump help the GOP Senate race?
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reflected on a calmer, “tamer” former President Donald Trump during the cycle leading to the 2022 midterm elections.
Trump’s recent behavior, says McConnell, will have fewer detrimental effects compared to his actions before the Georgia 2021 Senate runoff race, which many political observers say cost the Senate a majority GOP.
“So far this cycle, he’s been rather restrained in his nominations,” McConnell told USA TODAY in a one-on-one interview.
The Republican party needs to see a net gain of one seat in the currently evenly split Senate to recapture the chamber. Democrats own the tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.
McConnell says Trump is aware of the stakes and are backing candidates who can win.
“Obviously, it’s important to him to win and so he’s been rather than with his primary endorsements in most of our races, and I think that’s because he doesn’t want to show up with somebody who doesn’t actually prevail in the primary, he said.
Trump and McConnell have been at odds since McConnell blamed the former president for inciting his supporters to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. But the two appear to have set any animosity to the side ahead of the midterms. For instance, both are supporting former NFL star Herschel Walker in Georgia’s Senate race.
For you country music fans: Here’s who won big at the CMT Music Awards Monday. — Amy and Chelsey