Andrew Cuomo's COVID Task Force Is Under Investigation

As criticism of New York governor's handling of coronavirus pandemic mounts
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2021 12:44 AM CST
Gov. Cuomo's COVID Task Force Is Under Investigation
In this Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, file photo, Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters during a news conference at a COVID-19 pop-up vaccination site in the William Reid Apartments in the Brooklyn borough of New York.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, Pool, File)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's COVID controversy has erupted into a full-blown probe. The FBI and the US Attorney's Office in Brooklyn are investigating his coronavirus task force, sources tell the Albany Times-Union. The investigation focuses, at least partially, on how the task force handled nursing homes and long-term care facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early days last year, state health officials directed nursing homes to accept patients who were recovering from the virus after they left the hospital, and though that directive only lasted several weeks, critics have blamed it for driving up the number of nursing home deaths in the state, ABC News reports. Cuomo has also come under fire in recent days for not releasing nursing home death data in a timely fashion, though he insisted this week it was not a cover-up.

As for the probe, sources tell CNN it's in the preliminary stages. Subpoenas have reportedly been issued. It's not clear whether Cuomo himself is under scrutiny, but senior members of the task force reportedly are. Neither the FBI nor the US Attorney's Office has commented publicly, but a rep for Cuomo says, "As we publicly said, DOJ (Department of Justice) has been looking into this for months. We have been cooperating with them and we will continue to." Cuomo is finding himself in increasingly hot water even among members of his own party, as he's been accused of threatening political vengeance against Democratic lawmakers who have spoken out against him. The AP reports top Democrats in the state Senate are planning a vote to strip him of his emergency powers, though it's not clear whether that has support in the state Assembly. (More Andrew Cuomo stories.)

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