Rep. Zeldin Statement on DOJ Decision to Stop Investigating New York’s Nursing Home Deaths
PATCHOGUE, NY - Today, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) decision to stop investigating New York’s nursing home deaths:
“New York’s seniors tragically and unnecessarily died as a result of Governor Cuomo’s incompetent and inhumane Executive Order requiring nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients. The governor then engaged in blatant corruption to cover up the true consequences of his failed policy and had the audacity to sign onto an absurd $5.1 million self-congratulatory book deal praising his COVID ‘leadership’, all while New Yorkers were grieving and clamoring for answers. The families and loved ones of the victims of Governor Cuomo’s failed leadership deserve transparency, accountability and the truth about the lengths of the Cuomo administration’s cover up and corruption. The Department of Justice has now chosen to willfully participate in the effort to deny the public answers and accountability. Adding this to the book deal and Emmy Award, the DOJ’s decision is yet another gift to a corrupt governor, turning a blind eye to the facts, the victims and the public interest.”
On May 14, 2020, Congressman Zeldin and his New York Congressional Republican delegation colleagues sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) asking for an investigation into factors contributing to the COVID-19 fatality rates in nursing home facilities.
On June 25, 2020, Congressman Zeldin signed on to the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Republicans’ letter to New York Attorney General Letitia James requesting a formal review of the impact of Governor Cuomo’s deadly nursing home policy and for the findings to be made public.
On February 3, 2021, Congressman Zeldin and his New York Congressional Republican delegation colleagues sent a letter to then-Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson urging DOJ to immediately issue subpoenas for Governor Cuomo, the Secretary to the Governor, the New York State Commissioner of Health and their respective staffs for all documentation and communications related to their nursing home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to a thorough update on the Civil Rights Division's inquiry into New York State's handling of the COVID-19 crisis in nursing homes.
On February 11, 2021, Congressman Zeldin called for DOJ to open an obstruction of justice investigation into Governor Cuomo and his administration after the Associated Press exclusively reported that 9,000 coronavirus patients were sent into New York nursing homes and the New York Post published a bombshell report that a top aide to Governor Cuomo admitted that their office hid information on nursing home deaths caused by the governor’s nursing home mandate.
On February 12, 2021, Congressman Zeldin led his New York Congressional Republican delegation colleagues in a letter calling on then-Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson to open a DOJ investigation into Governor Cuomo and his administration following the bombshell reports that a top aide to Governor Cuomo 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.
On February 17, 2021, Congressman Zeldin responded to reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York are investigating Governor Cuomo’s COVID-19 policy regarding nursing homes and other long term care facilities.
On February 19, 2021, Congressman Zeldin and his New York Congressional Republican delegation colleagues sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee requesting that then-Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland be asked a line of questioning about the role DOJ should play in any investigation of a sitting governor and his/her administration who conceivably obstructed justice.
On March 17, 2021, Congressman Zeldin and his New York Congressional Republican delegation colleagues sent a letter urging Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate a possible violation of the civil rights of those with disabilities in New York State’s group homes and assess whether the statistics shared with federal authorities by the State of New York are accurate and truthful.
Today, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joe Gaeta responded to the February 3 letter informing Congressman Zeldin and his colleagues of DOJ’s decision not to open a Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) investigation into any public nursing home facility within New York at this time.