TRENTON, N.J. – Jack Ciattarelli announced on Thursday that he had filed multiple Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests seeking copies of communications between Governor Phil Murphy and both Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo pertaining to thousands of nursing home COVID-19 fatalities.
“Governor Murphy has touted his ‘partnership’ and ‘teamwork’ with Governor Cuomo and proclaimed that they were ‘synchronizing plans’ throughout the pandemic,” said Ciattarelli. “Given what we now know about Governor Cuomo’s reprehensible and potentially illegal conduct, it’s critical that New Jerseyans – especially the loved ones of those who died in our nursing homes – know each and every detail about the conversations and communications between the two Governors and their Administrations related to this growing scandal.”
The federal investigation into the Cuomo’s decision apparent nursing home death cover-up is currently national news. Of course, New York isn’t the only place with thousands of disturbing nursing home deaths.
Like the Cuomo Administration, the Murphy Administration packed nursing homes with COVID-19 positive admissions in the early, critical hours of the pandemic. While those decisions drew some criticism at the time, recent events in the Empire State have drawn a renewed focus to one of the country’s worst mass casualty events.
Ciattarelli – the GOP frontrunner to challenge Murphy in the November election – says he expects pushback. The Murphy Administration has repeatedly used its emergency powers as an excuse to block records requests throughout the past year.
“By repeatedly extending the state of emergency and using executive orders to govern by fiat, Phil Murphy has arrogantly exploited a constitutional imbalance to exert far too much authority over the lives of everyday New Jerseyans. To him, we are on a purely need-to-know basis,” said Ciattarelli. “Governor Murphy’s arrogance is offensive, but more importantly, it’s an insult to the innocent seniors and veterans who suffered and died, and the families who are grieving them. It’s time someone held him accountable.”
Ciattarelli’s OPRA requests are viewable here.