(The Center Square) — A House panel is taking aim at former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over his handling of COVID-19 outbreaks in the state’s nursing homes, threatening to subpoena the Democrat as part of a congressional investigation into the nation’s response to the pandemic.
In a letter to Cuomo, the Republican-controlled Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic requests documents and information on COVID-19-positive patients in New York nursing homes.
The GOP lawmakers said the investigation is focused on Cuomo’s “misguided decision to expose New York’s most vulnerable to COVID-19 by issuing the ‘must admit’ orders, which had predictable but deadly consequences for 15,000 nursing home residents.”
The panel alleges that Cuomo, a Democrat who stepped down from office in 2021 amid sexual harassment allegations, has ignored previous requests to produce records and data related to its ongoing investigation.
“Any attempt to cover up the truth and conceal culpability is not acceptable to the American people,” the committee’s chairman, Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, wrote in the two-page letter. “If you fail to adequately produce records responsive to our requests, the Select Committee [will] evaluate pursuing the compulsory process.”
Committee member Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., also signed the letter and accused Cuomo of ignoring the panel’s previous request for documents and information.
“New Yorkers deserve to know why Cuomo made the misguided decision to place COVID+ patients in nursing homes, killing thousands of vulnerable seniors,” she posted on X. “If he doesn’t want to willingly answer @COVIDSelect’s questions — we’re going to make him.”
Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for the former governor, called the letter a “farce” and criticized the House committee for conducting a “partisan” investigation.
“The data they seek — which has already been reviewed twice by the DOJ, as well as the State Assembly and the AG, all of which found no there, there — is with the state,” Azzopardi said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate that some DC politicians are seeking to transparently weaponize people’s pain to advance a political agenda.”
The controversy over deaths in New York’s nursing homes following a controversial COVID-19 patient admission policy at the outset of the pandemic has dogged Cuomo for years.
The policy directed nursing homes to begin accepting “medically stable” patients recovering from the virus in 2020 as they were discharged from hospitals. It was rescinded after several weeks, but Cuomo was widely criticized for contributing to the high death toll in the state’s long-term care facilities.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced in 2021 that it had decided not to investigate whether Cuomo’s policy violated residents’ civil rights in New York’s nursing homes. Cuomo also faced a probe by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which was later abandoned.
The House committee has also requested COVID-19-related records from Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Jersey, Democrat-led states that adopted similar rules that it has claimed “may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents.”