Kathy Hochul's first day on the job as New York governor

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NBC's Dasha Burns joins Shep Smith to report on Kathy Hochul's first day on the job as governor of New York. Hochul says she wants to restore faith in the state's government. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO:

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s daughter-in-law is a top lobbyist at a pharmaceutical firm that has been actively trying to influence state and federal lawmakers.

Hochul took over as governor Tuesday following Andrew Cuomo’s resignation over a sexual harassment scandal.

During her first address as governor Tuesday, Hochul said her administration would address ethics issues.

“Today, I’m directing an overhaul of state government policies on sexual harassment and ethics, starting with requiring that all training be done live, instead of allowing people to click their way through a class,” Hochul said in the speech, which she delivered soon after this story was first published.

Christina Hochul, who is married to the governor’s son, William Hochul III, is a director of federal policy at Biogen. The company develops therapies that aim to combat Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy. Its corporate headquarters is in Massachusetts.

The company has been involved with a recent lobbying campaign in New York. State lobbying disclosure reports show that between January and June, Biogen paid $20,000 for Harter Secrest & Emery to engage with state lawmakers on multiple bills.

The disclosure report shows that the lobbyists Biogen hired targeted leaders in the state Senate on “potential legislation related to Alzheimer’s disease.”

The report does not list Christina Hochul as a lobbyist working the campaign. Yet if Biogen continues to have business in the state, it could create an ethics hurdle the new governor will have to face as she settles into the job.

A spokeswoman for Biogen told CNBC that Christina Hochul does not lobby at the New York state level and will not do so. The representative did not rule out the company itself engaging with New York state lawmakers while Kathy Hochul is governor.

“Christina Hochul works on federal health policy for Biogen; she has not, does not, and will not engage in state-level government affairs in New York,” Allison Parks, the Biogen spokeswoman, said in an email Tuesday. “Biogen remains committed to engaging with government officials in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, as well as our own internal ethical and compliance principles.”

Christina Hochul did not respond to requests for comment.

The governor’s daughter-in-law is listed on federal lobbying disclosure reports, showing that she and her team actively tried to influence members of Congress and those within President Joe Biden’s administration.

Hochul’s daughter-in-law isn’t the only close family member creating optics problems for the new governor.

Hochul’s husband, William Hochul, is a former federal prosecutor who works as senior vice president and general counsel at gambling and hospitality giant Delaware North. The Daily Beast noted that Hochul’s administration will have authority over key regulators that have ties to the gambling industry, including the New York State Gaming Commission.

At the time, Hochul’s team said there is “already a recusal process in place” as it relates to her husband’s work for Delaware North. The Buffalo News previously reported that William Hochul will remain at Delaware North despite his wife becoming governor.

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