The Republican members of New York's House delegation on Wednesday called on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to release records that had been part of the Justice Department's civil rights inquiry into publicly run nursing homes in the state.
The request for documents comes after the Department of Justice signaled it would not pursue an investigation under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act stemming from the deaths of nursing home residents in New York and other states.
“The people of New York and the thousands of families of nursing home residents who tragically lost their lives due to these unconscionable actions are rightly demanding answers," the lawmakers wrote in the letter. "They deserve full transparency from the Department following the decision to not open a CRIPA investigation, which was provided without any justification in a July 23, 2021 letter to our offices.”
Lawmakers signing onto he letter seeking the documentation included Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican candidate for governor.
The call for the documentation from Republicans comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing mounting calls for him to resign or face a potential impeachment proceeding in the state Legislature following the release of a report by state Attorney General Letitia James finding the governor sexually harassed 11 women.
Last year, the Department of Justice sent letters to multiple states requesting nursing home related records. At the time, the states were led by Democratic governors, and Cuomo alleged the effort was meant to embarass blue states by President Donald Trump's administration.
Cuomo has decried what he has said are politics surrounding the nursing home controversies he's faced for the last year, arguing that pushing the point is cruel to the family members who have lost loved ones.
The initial request for nursing home records in New York was a relatively narrow one: Seeking only documentation from public facilities. The Department of Justice later asked for a broader trove of information.
A separate federal investigation being conducted by the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn is believed to be probing how the state reported COVID-19 nursing home deaths and where those residents died.