Grassley goes after DOJ for not opening civil rights investigation into COVID nursing home scandals

Last week the DOJ announced it would not investigate COVID nursing home deaths.
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Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)
Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley asked the Justice Department Thursday to reconsider its decision not to pursue a civil rights investigation into nursing home scandals resulting from COVID-19.

"The Civil Rights Division seems more focused on opposing common-sense voter integrity provisions than protecting the elderly," Grassley wrote in a letter to the DOJ Wednesday. "But it seems to lack the resources to protect the most frail and vulnerable in states like New York."

Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is referring to the nursing home scandals that occurred under Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in which the governor had forced nursing homes to take back residents who had been hospitalized with COVID-19. The governor has also been accused of falsifying residents' deaths as the result of the action.

The DOJ announced last week that the Civil Rights Division would not be investigating the nursing home deaths based on violations of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. The U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn, NY, however, is reportedly looking into the matter. 

Grassley is now asking the Department to reconsider its civil rights investigation, saying that "accountability is important under these circumstances–not only to help prevent similar missteps in the future, but also to maintain public confidence in the Department."