NEW YORK (WIVB) – Brian Benjamin spent fewer than eight months as Lieutenant Governor before resigning in the face of allegations he took part in a bribery scheme. When Governor Kathy Hochul picks her next second-in-command, she promised Wednesday to do things differently.

“We are going to do a much better vetting process,” Hochul said. “We have a very powerful vetting process that will be underway for this. But in terms of what we knew at the time, it did not rise to the level of what we’re dealing with here today.”

In their documents charging Benjamin, federal prosecutors said the former lieutenant governor lied on a questionnaire prior to his August appointment.

“Benjamin falsely stated, among other things, that he had never ‘directly exercised [his] governmental authority (either as a Legislator or Executive official) concerning a matter of a donor [he] directly solicited,'” the paperwork says.

“We did not have the truth at the time the decisions were made,” Hochul said.

But the governor’s political rivals aren’t letting her off the hook.

Speaking in Buffalo Wednesday, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who is challenging Hochul for the Democratic gubernatorial line, said, “The current governor’s response to former Governor Cuomo was, ‘I didn’t know what was happening.'”

“The answer was I didn’t know,” Williams continued. “The answer now is, ‘I didn’t know.'”

Rep. Tom Suozzi, also seeking the Democratic line in the June primary, said, “We’ve done research on Brian Benjamin. A straight-forward Google search saw that over the past year and a half there have been all kinds of questions.”

In a statement Tuesday evening, Benjamin’s attorneys argued his actions in question were laudable, not criminal.

“He looks forward to when this case is finished so he can rededicate himself to public service,” Benjamin’s attorneys said.

Still, he has resigned from office and suspended his campaign as Hochul’s running mate. There are, however, few ways to remove his name from the primary ballot.

“There’s still nothing to prohibit the Democratic state Legislature from coming back and passing a new set of rules which could change the whole playing field,” said Erie County Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr.

While in the November General Election, voters cast one ballot for a Governor-Lieutenant Governor ticket, they vote separately for those two offices in the June primary. This means if successful in that primary, Hochul could end up with someone else’s running mate on her ticket.

Ana Maria Archila, Williams’ running mate, joined him in Buffalo Wednesday.

“If Governor Hochul is the one that wins the primary, I will endeavor to partner with her,” Archila said. “But my commitment has always been to the people of New York.”

Diana Reyna, Suozzi’s running mate, echoed a similar sentiment.

“After the primary, should I continue, I will work with whomever is Governor,” Reyna said. “Right now, (Suozzi and I) have a path to victory.”

Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2017. See more of his work here.