Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally gave into mounting bipartisan pressure last week by announcing his resignation in the wake of a state attorney general’s report linking him to a pattern of sexual misconduct.
Some critics in his own party say that additional action is needed — including New York Assemblyman Ron Kim, who is calling for Cuomo to be impeached.
“A disservice to the taxpayers and the public”
Instead of simply focusing on the governor’s sexual harassment allegations, however, Kim is also interested in his controversial response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically, the state lawmaker is outraged by the Cuomo policy that sent infected patients back into nursing homes before allegedly covering up the true extent of the outbreak among elderly New Yorkers.
Kim insists that Cuomo’s constituents deserve the truth regarding whether the governor “was motivated to defraud the public” in pursuit of a lucrative book deal.
“That’s what the timeline reflects, and the public deserves the truth,” he said. “It will be a disservice to the taxpayers and the public because we already spent so much time, money, and research … to do the work.”
Breaking down his accusations, Kim asserted that Cuomo “not only directed the Department of Health to deflate the numbers, but he took the suppressed data, put it in his book and held [it] up at press conferences making it seem like, ‘Whoa, New York is not that bad compared to other states’ for months.”
“Cared for with dignity and respect”
About a year ago, the Department of Justice announced that it would be requesting information from New York and other Democratic-led states with similar nursing home policies.
“Protecting the rights of some of society’s most vulnerable members, including elderly nursing home residents, is one of our country’s most important obligations,” said then-Assistant Attorney General Eric Drieband of the Civil Rights Division.
In his statement at the time, Drieband added: “We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk.”
Last month, however, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joseph Gaeta determined that he would not proceed with a civil rights investigation.
In a letter on the topic, Gaeta wrote: “We have reviewed the information provided by these states along with additional information available to the Department. Based on that review, we have decided not to open a [Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act] investigation of any public nursing facility within New York, Pennsylvania, or Michigan at this time.”