Andrew Cuomo can breathe a little easier. While he still has pending investigations with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn — which may turn out to be tougher — the New York governor can say he won’t have the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigating him over his controversial COVID-19 nursing home admissions law.
In a letter to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), written by Deputy Attorney General Joe Gaeta, the DOJ announced that it will not investigate whether or not the civil rights of seniors in nursing homes were violated by Governor Cuomo, who instructed public homes to accept COVID-19 patients exposing vulnerable seniors to infection.
The DOJ said that, “through the Civil Rights Division, it has authority under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997, to investigate allegations of a pattern or practice of unlawful conditions in certain residential institutions, including nursing facilities, operated by or on behalf of a state or local governmental entity,” however, they decided “not to open a CRIPA investigation of any public nursing facility within New York, Pennsylvania, or Michigan at this time,” based on information provided by the states.
Harsh criticism towards Biden’s Departmentof Justice
The Department of Justice’s decision provoked the anger of Republican representatives and is generating multiple criticisms in social media, since Cuomo not only established the admission policy, but he is also involved in an investigation into the concealment and manipulation of statistics on COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
The New York newspaper, New York Post, was the first media outlet to exclusively reveal “that a top official privately admitted that the administration covered up the total number of elderly nursing home residents killed by the coronavirus”.
In a press release, Rep. Scalise, a member of the Republican Caucus and the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, asked, “Where is the justice for nursing home victims and their grieving families?”
“It is outrageous that the Department of Justice refuses to investigate the deadly ‘mandatory admission’ orders issued by the governors of New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of seniors (…) These deadly orders contradict CDC guidance and needlessly endanger the most vulnerable among us to the deadly COVID-19 virus,” Scalise denounced.
“What’s worse, New York Governor Cuomo intentionally tried to cover up the true death toll resulting from his mandate. Grieving families deserve answers and accountability. It is unconscionable that the Biden Department of Justice refuses to investigate deadly actions that went against CDC medical guidance adopted in these states.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Glens Falls), also criticized the announcement arguing that “this decision from President Biden’s Department of Justice makes President Biden complicit in the criminal corruption scandal and coverup of deaths of thousands of vulnerable seniors.”
Families dismayed by denial of investigation against Cuomo
The New York Post gathered testimony from some family members who suffered firsthand from the mandatory admission policy pursued by the Cuomo administration.
“My heart is broken all over again,” Haydee Pabey, who suffered the death of her mother from COVID-19 in a nursing home in northern Manhattan, told the Post. “The Department of Justice turned its back on seniors who died. The Department of Justice covered up the cover-up,” she continued.
Vivian Zayas lost her mother ‘Ana’ — to COVID-19 — at a nursing home on Long Island and claimed that “Cuomo’s mandate caused a wildfire and thousands of deaths of nursing home residents.”
“Biden is covering up for Cuomo and other Democratic governors who followed his lead. Imagine if Trump did this? It’s a shame that this is partisan and grieving families are caught in a partisan game. It’s a partisan cover up. Who do we turn to now?! No one is curious about thousands of vulnerable elderly people died of COVID through no fault of their own,” Zayas said.