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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls for 'full investigation' of Gov. Cuomo's COVID-19 nursing home scandal

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'Thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers lost their lives in nursing homes throughout the pandemic. Their loved ones and the public deserve answers.'

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Squad leader Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has joined a growing chorus of New York lawmakers calling for a full investigation into how Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) mishandled the coronavirus pandemic in nursing homes.

On Wednesday, the Albany Times Union reported that the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York have opened an investigation into the Cuomo administration's coronavirus task force and the crisis in New York nursing homes.

"I support our state's return to co-equal governance and stand with our local officials calling for a full investigation of the Cuomo administration's handling of nursing homes during COVID-19," Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement. "Thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers lost their lives in nursing homes throughout the pandemic. Their loved ones and the public deserve answers and transparency from their elected leadership, and the Secretary to the Governor's remarks warrant a full investigation."

The Cuomo administration has faced scathing public criticism from New York lawmakers ever since a top Cuomo aide privately admitted last week that the state government withheld data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths from the legislature out of fear President Donald Trump would wield Cuomo's failure as a political weapon.

On the same day, the Associated Press published a bombshell report revealing that thousands more coronavirus patients were sent to nursing homes than Cuomo previously admitted.

During a news conference Monday in Albany, Cuomo blamed nursing home staff for spreading the virus and repeated his insistence that his policy of sending coronavirus patients to nursing homes was not responsible for the wave of nursing home deaths.

The governor is also under fire for privately threatening a Democratic state lawmaker who publicly criticized him, telling him "you will be destroyed." That lawmaker, Assemblyman Ron Kim, went public with Cuomo's threat and inspired a renewed wave of criticism of the governor.

"We are deeply disturbed by the Governor's attacks on our colleague — a fellow Democrat — Assemblymember Kim," said 12 Democratic lawmakers in a joint statement condemning Cuomo's actions. They also announced support for legislation sponsored by Kim to strip Cuomo of his pandemic-related emergency powers.

"As a co-equal branch of government, the Legislature is well within its rights to seek oversight of executive action. In fact, we have a duty to seek that oversight," the lawmakers wrote in their statement.

"It is our job to represent our constituents and seek answers to the tragedies that took place in nursing homes around the State. We have no interest in name calling — we aim to restore the proper balance of power between the Legislature and Executive" branches of state government.

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