NY GOP Congressional Delegation Calls on DOJ to Open Obstruction of Justice Investigation into Gov. Cuomo & His Administration | Congressman Lee Zeldin

NY GOP Congressional Delegation Calls on DOJ to Open Obstruction of Justice Investigation into Gov. Cuomo & His Administration

February 12, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Representatives Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), Andrew Garbarino (R, NY-2), Nicole Malliotakis (R, NY-11), Elise Stefanik (R, NY-21), Claudia Tenney (R, NY-22), Tom Reed (R, NY-23), John Katko (R, NY-24), and Chris Jacobs (R, NY-27) called on Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson to open a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration following bombshell reports that a top aide to Governor Cuomo just admitted that their office, in an effort to block a DOJ investigation, hid from federal authorities information on nursing home deaths caused by the Governor’s nursing home mandate.

This shocking news came out simultaneously as reporting that over 9,000 coronavirus patients were sent into New York nursing homes

Two weeks ago, New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report that found Governor Cuomo’s administration underreported nursing home deaths by more than 50%. 

Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) said, “The Department of Justice needs to immediately open an Obstruction of Justice investigation into Governor Cuomo and his administration. It's now being reported there has been a direct admission of their nursing home coverup with the intent of blocking a DOJ investigation. The families of thousands of dead New York seniors deserve accountability and justice for the true consequences of Governor Cuomo’s fatally flawed nursing home policy and the continued attempts to cover it up. It’s clear what's happening here is criminal.”

Congressman Andrew Garbarino (R, NY-2) said, “It is clearer now more than ever that the Department of Justice needs to conduct a full investigation into the Cuomo Administration’s handling of nursing homes and COVID-19. Gov. Cuomo not only recklessly put New York seniors in harms’ way, he and his Administration admittedly hid the facts from the Department of Justice. This, along with the refusal to respect the several Freedom of Information Law requests, turned a misjudgment in policy into what very well may be one of the largest criminal cover-ups in New York’s history. On behalf of every New Yorker who lost a family member or loved one in one of these nursing home facilities, I am demanding answers and justice.”

Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (R, NY-11) said, "This admission of a coverup proves what we’ve known all along; Governor Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) made a calculated political decision to avoid answering questions and being the subject of legal investigations. The Governor should immediately resign, and the Department of Justice should hold Governor Cuomo and his administration accountable so justice can be served for the thousands of families who lost loved ones."

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R, NY-21) said, "After yesterday’s bombshell report, there is absolutely no question that an immediate independent investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice is warranted. If there is no Department of Justice investigation into the Secretary to Governor Cuomo's public admission of federal crimes, a stain will remain on the entirety of the Biden Administration. I also call for a full transcript to be released of President Biden's meeting  with Governor Cuomo at the White House, so the American people can be assured that President Biden is not complicit in this apparent criminal coverup and admitted obstruction of justice." 

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R, NY-22) said, “The latest revelation that Governor Cuomo’s administration deliberately concealed data related to nursing home deaths is unconscionable. I have been raising the alarm around this issue for more than a year and am proud to now stand with my New York colleagues in Congress to call for an immediate federal investigation into this matter. New York families need the truth and they deserve justice.”

Congressman Tom Reed (R, NY-23) said, “The mountain of evidence, lies, and criminal conduct cannot be ignored any longer. The Biden Department of Justice must conduct an independent and thorough investigation into Governor Cuomo, Secretary DeRosa, and New York State. Regardless of our party affiliation, we should all be able to agree such an investigation is an essential step if we are going to achieve justice for the thousands of grieving New York families.”

Congressman John Katko (R, NY-24) said, “The revelations being reported regarding New York State’s handling of nursing home deaths represent a massive breach in public trust. Hundreds of families across New York State lost loved ones as a direct result of the State’s disastrous nursing home policy. Reporting now shows the Cuomo Administration deliberately withheld this critical information from federal authorities. The individuals responsible for perpetuating this coverup must be held accountable.”

Congressman Chris Jacobs (R, NY-27) said, “The Governor and his staff made a calculated and potentially criminal decision to withhold information of his reckless order forcing COVID-positive patients back into nursing homes. Grieving New York families and elected officials have tried for months to get answers, only to be brushed aside by the Governor while he shamelessly accepted book deals and awards for his handling of the pandemic. This is now not only an investigation into the true toll of his disastrous directive, but a criminal investigation into obstruction of justice. This new reporting details willful corruption of the highest degree and represents one of the greatest betrayals of public trust we have seen during this pandemic – the Department of Justice must launch a federal investigation immediately, and Governor Cuomo and his staff must face justice.”

A signed PDF of the letter is available here

Full text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Acting Attorney General Wilkinson,

We request the Department of Justice (DOJ) immediately open an obstruction of justice investigation into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration. It is now being reported that the Cuomo administration has admitted to knowingly withholding information on New York State’s nursing home deaths out of fear it would be used against them as part of a federal investigation. This intentional and unconscionable coverup impacting thousands of our most vulnerable residents cannot go without consequences.

For months, family members, news outlets, and lawmakers alike have been calling on the Cuomo administration to report information regarding the number of nursing home residents who died of COVID-19, including those who died in a nursing home facility or after being transferred to another location. On March 25, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order mandating that “[n]o resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to [a nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19,” and prohibited nursing homes from requiring medically stable hospitalized residents to be tested for COVID-19 prior to their admission or readmission. In May 2020, only after intense backlash and unnecessary suffering, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) reversed its policy.

We wrote to you after the New York Attorney General recently released a scathing report stating that the total number of COVID-19 related nursing home deaths was kept artificially low as NYSDOH selectively reported only the number of deaths at nursing homes and did not count the deaths that took place following the transfer of infected nursing home residents to area hospitals. It is now being reported that Secretary to the Governor, Melissa DeRosa, admitted to a group of Democrat state legislators that the Governor’s office withheld this information from the federal government out of fear that it would “be used against us” by the DOJ. Even more concerning, DeRosa also reportedly said that the DOJ was no longer focused on New York’s nursing homes.

We request your department immediately open an obstruction of justice investigation into Governor Cuomo and his administration. Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your response.