In a disappointing yet unsurprising development, President Joe Biden’s Justice Department has formally declined to investigate the nursing home policies in three states with Democrat governors that resulted in thousands of elderly citizens dying from COVID-19.
In a letter sent to House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), the DOJ informed the congressman that it would not open an investigation into New York, Pennsylvania, or Michigan’s treatment of nursing home patients during the coronavirus pandemic. The DOJ has, however, opened an investigation into New Jersey’s nursing home policies relating to two specific nursing homes in the state.
“The Civil Rights Division requested information from New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey regarding COVID-19 and nursing facilities run by, or for, those states, by letters dated August 26, 2020. The letters stated that the requested information would assist the Department in determining whether to open an investigation under [the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act] CRIPA,” wrote Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joe Gaeta. “Each state provided information in response to the request. We have reviewed the information provided by these states along with additional information available to the Department. Based on that review, we have decided not to open a CRIPA investigation of any public nursing facility within New York, Pennsylvania, or Michigan at this time.”
The Federalist reported that those three states received their own letters that they would not be investigated at this time. In August 2020, The Daily Wire reported that then-President Donald Trump’s DOJ was seeking data from states that implemented policies mandating nursing homes couldn’t reject COVID-19-positive patients.
The Biden DOJ’s decision to end those investigations brought condemnation from Republicans.
“Where is the justice for nursing home victims and their grieving families?” Scalise said. “Grieving families deserve answers and accountability. It’s unconscionable that Biden’s Department of Justice refuses to investigate the deadly actions that went against CDC’s medical guidance taken in these states.”
House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (NY), blasted the decision for letting Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) off the hook for his devastating policies.
“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,” Stefanik said. “New Yorkers deserve answers and accountability.”
Janice Dean, Fox News’ senior meteorologist who lost her in-laws in New York nursing homes due to COVID-19, called the decision a “terrible day for thousands of families.”
“There will be no justice for our loved ones, and it feels like we’ve lost them all over again,” she added.
A terrible day for thousands of families. In a letter to @SteveScalise, @TheJusticeDept wrote that they were dropping the nursing home investigations in all states including New York. There will be no justice for our loved ones, and it feels like we’ve lost them all over again. pic.twitter.com/DV7uNRMr9D
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) July 23, 2021
As The Daily Wire reported earlier this year, top Cuomo aides reportedly “pressured state health department officials to alter a report to remove the total number of nursing home residents who died from the coronavirus.”
Even though the investigations into New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania were dismissed, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) is still facing an investigation. Further, Cuomo is still being investigated by the FBI and the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s Office. In addition, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is also the target of a probe by the state’s auditor general, The Daily Wire reported earlier this month.