Politics

Cuomo Skates On Nursing Home Deaths

This was predictable.

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It might seem strange that a meteorologist would be following and superbly covering a political scandal. But Janice Dean, FNC weather pro, is on the job and doing it well.

Dean: When Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., messaged me on Friday afternoon that he had received word via a letter that the Biden administration’s investigation into the nursing home tragedy in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Michigan was being dropped I was incredibly sad, but not surprised.

Scalise has been helping me and other families behind the scenes in Washington to try and get answers about why Democratic governors ordered COVID-infected patients into nursing homes in spring 2020. Scalise sent me the letter and gave me permission to post about it on social media: “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.”

It was in August 2020 that the U.S. Justice Department Civil Rights Division requested information from New York in connection with the controversial March 25 order from the state’s Department of Health that required nursing homes to admit COVID-19 positive patients who were discharged from hospitals. It also asked for records from Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Jersey – states that had the same mandates that “may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents.”

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The reason? Here’s what Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joe Gaeta wrote last week: “We have reviewed the information provided by these states along with additional information to the Department, and based on that review, have decided not to open a CRIPTA investigation of any public nursing facility within New York, Pennsylvania, or Michigan at this time.”

For months we were waiting for answers. As we waited, several sources were telling me the investigation was being swept under the rug. In January of this year, a senior Justice Department official confirmed to me that New York state had failed to provide ANY data as of their October request.

Not only did Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration fail to provide any information to the Justice Department, lawmakers or countless reporters and grieving families who have asked it be disclosed, he blamed others for his disastrous mandate and instead says all of it is politically motivated. But I will forever be grateful to former Attorney General William Barr and the Trump administration for launching the investigation because this was the springboard to the potentially more politically damaging investigation here in New York by the FBI and the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s Office…

As for the other states that had similar tragedies in nursing homes, where is the accountability for their leaders’ deadly decisions? Now more than ever, it’s up to us, the people in these states, to use our voices and demand answers from our elected officials. We must hold them accountable on behalf of our families. Especially those who have been silenced forever.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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