The Biden Justice Department said last week it will not open a civil rights investigation into nursing home deaths in three states, prompting outcry from Republicans who say the Biden administration is covering up for Democratic governors.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R., La.) had called on the Justice Department's civil rights division to investigate whether COVID policies in New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania violated nursing home residents' civil rights by putting them at higher risk of coronavirus infection. The Justice Department said Friday it had requested information from the states, but that it will not move forward with a civil rights investigation.
At the center of the decision to forgo the investigation is Kristen Clarke, the controversial Justice Department civil rights chief who has criticized Republicans behind the probe. Clarke’s office is alone in dismissing the nursing home investigation. The Justice Department is reportedly still investigating a policy Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D., N.Y.) implemented on March 25, 2020, that required nursing homes to admit residents even if they tested positive for the virus. The New York Assembly's Judiciary Committee is also investigating the policy. New York attorney general Letitia James (D.) found in January that the Cuomo administration had undercounted virus-related nursing home deaths by more than 40 percent.