GOP Wants To Open an Investigation Into Cuomo’s Nursing Home Scandal

"andrew cuomo" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Zack Seward

Senator Ted Cruz, together with eight other Republican lawmakers in the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, wants Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Il) to open an investigation into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s growing nursing home COVID death scandal. 

Last Wednesday evening, lawmakers sent a letter to Durbin, asking him to immediately schedule hearings concerning the behavior of Cuomo’s administration, which is currently being shaken by allegations that it deliberately hid from federal prosecutions Coronavirus deaths in nursing homes. 

The lawmakers wrote, “The American people deserve to know the extent to which Governor Cuomo and his senior staff violated the civil rights of New York seniors, lied to the Department of Justice about their actions, and violated federal civil and criminal laws in the process.”

The letter continued, “That so many people needlessly lost their lives because of the failed policies of Governor Cuomo’s administration — an administration that many have lauded over the past year — is tragic and deserves a full investigation and accounting.”

In their letter, the senators also stated that they also expected Biden’s attorney general nominee Merrick Garland to commit to investigating the nursing home scandal. 

They wrote, “When Judge Garland testifies before this Committee, we expect him to commit the Department of Justice to fully investigating this cover-up to determine whether any criminal laws were violated and to prosecute any violations.”

The lawmakers said that a close doors investigation by the Department of Justice would be too slow. This would also allow those people who are responsible a chance to avoid public accountability.

The Republican lawmakers who were involved in the letter were Cruz (R-Texas) was joined by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)

Meanwhile, Rich Azzopardi Cuomo’s spokesman said of the Cruz request, “Every death in this pandemic is a tragedy, and shame on the Treason Caucus for exploiting them to distract from fermenting the Capitol insurrection that resulted in the death of a police officer.”

Last week, a report from the New York Post revealed that Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, revealed to a group of state lawmakers that indeed they withheld the state’s Coronavirus nursing home death toll due to fear that revealing the true numbers would be “used against us” by federal prosecutors. 

The report published by the New York Post was released after a statement by Attorney General Letitia James was made, stating that Coronavirus deaths in New York’s nursing homes were 50% higher than what Gov. Cuomo claimed. 

According to the analysis by the Post, the latest state Health Department revealed that Cuomo covered nearly 1,900 Coronavirus-related fatalities in New York City alone. 

The shocking stories continued on Wednesday when Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) stated that he received a threatening call from Cuomo last week which warned him he would be “destroyed” if he did not help contain the crisis. 

Kim said that Cuomo called and asked him to draft a statement to say that DeRosa, in fact, told state lawmakers that they would comply with federal prosecutors.

During the call, Kim also added that Cuomo warned him saying, “You have not seen my wrath. I have been biting my tongue for months.”

Kim also recalled Cuomo saying, “I can tell the whole world what a bad person you are, and you will be finished. You will be destroyed.”

The letter that was sent last Wednesday is not the first time that Cruz raised concerns about how Cuomo handles the pandemic. 

Last month, Cruz introduced an amendment to the budget package called for a DOJ probe to ascertain if officials like Cuomo could be criminally or civilly liable for ordering Coronavirus patients to be placed in nursing homes.

On the other hand, an unapologetic Cuomos used a press conference to attack both The Post and Assemblyman Kim for revealing the scandal surrounding his administration.

Democrats’ patience appears to have run out as well, as nine New York State Assembly Democratic members accused Cuomo of federal obstruction of justice in a letter asking for support to strip Cuomo of his COVID-19 emergency powers.

However, during an Oval Office meeting with Gov. Cuomo last Friday, Biden decided not to mention the scandal because it “was not a focus of their conversation or a topic,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.