Rep. Lisa McClain Calls for Inquiry into DOJ Refusal to Investigate Gretchen Whitmer Nursing Home Deaths

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer @whitmermi/Instagram

Three Michigan members of Congress sent a letter Monday urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) to investigate why the agency declined to look into coronavirus-related nursing home deaths in Michigan, New York, and elsewhere last year.

Michigan Republican U.S. Reps. Lisa McClain, Bill Huizenga, and Tim Walberg wrote DOJ IG Michael E. Horowitz, asking him to probe the department’s recent decision “to not investigate the State of Michigan’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to place patients infected with COVID-19 into long-term care facilities.”

The request came after the DOJ informed Whitmer’s administration last month that it would not look into the role her policies played after nearly 7,000 Michiganders reportedly died in long-term care facilities.

Some, including independent journalist Charlie LeDuff, have speculated Whitmer’s administration underreported the actual number by as much as 100 percent, which would amount to the vast majority of coronavirus deaths being attributed to the policy.

McClain, Huizenga, and Walberg asked Horowitz to “pursue answers to the following questions,” including:

  1. Who made the final decision within the department to forgo an investigation?
  2. What data or information did the Department acquire from the Governor of Michigan that exonerated her of any wrongdoing?
  3. Was anyone within the Administration in contact with officials at DOJ concerning the Michigan inquiry?
  4. Was anyone within the Executive Office of the President in contact with officials at DOJ concerning the Michigan inquiry?

“We are requesting a formal, in-person briefing from your office on whether you choose to open an investigation into the Department of Justice’s decision,” the trio wrote to Horowitz.

“Thousands of Michigan families deserve to know why the State of Michigan and Gov. Whitmer chose to put their loved ones’ lives at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic,” McClain said in a statement.

“The least the Department of Justice can do is thoroughly investigate why those with the coronavirus were placed into long-term care facilities, which led to thousands of deaths.”

“Michiganders who lost loved ones deserve answers. The Justice Department’s refusal to investigate the role Gov. Whitmer’s decisions played in these tragic nursing home deaths is unacceptable,” Huizenga said.

“It is my hope the Inspector General will provide clarity as to why the Department of Justice has failed to pursue this inquiry as well as provide closure to families across Michigan.”

The Trump administration requested death data from Whitmer’s administration, as well as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who had a similar policy.

Both accused Trump’s DOJ of politics in pursuing the data and ran out the clock on his administration.


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