Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) told a group of state senators she would not investigate Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) nursing home policy, claiming it would amount to “a political attack.”
Republican state Sens. Jim Runestad, Tom Barrett, Ruth Johnson, Kim LaSata, Roger Victory, Lana Theis, Dale Zorn, and Curt VanderWall urged Nessel to look into the policy that led to the coronavirus-related deaths of thousands of elderly residents.
ABC 12 reported “Nessel pointed out that the senators didn’t provide any evidence to support their concerns or allegations.”
Nessel said her office can’t investigate whether decisions made quickly to contain COVID-19 constituted bad public policy if other alternatives were available. She said the Attorney General’s Office is limited to investigating criminal allegations, but there are none with the nursing home policies.
The senators raised concerns about the ongoing scandal in New York regarding Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s staff understating the number of nursing home deaths related to COVID-19. Nessel said she not aware of evidence showing Whitmer’s administration engaged in similar conduct and the senators didn’t provide any in their letter.
She pointed out that Whitmer’s office responded to a request for nursing home information from the U.S. Department of Justice and she believes that report correctly stated the facts.
“Though I will not hesitate to act when justified, I also will not abuse the investigatory powers of this Department to launch a political attack on any state official, regardless of party or beliefs,” Nessel said in her response, according to WILX.
“I appreciate that you and your colleagues have policy disagreements with Governor Whitmer’s response to COVID-19. But an investigation by my office is not the mechanism to resolve those disagreements,” Nessel said.
The news site reported 5,551 nursing home residents died from the virus, constituting over one-third of all coronavirus-related deaths in the state.
But earlier this year, Nessel was quick to investigate a northern Michigan county commissioner who showed a gun during a virtual public meeting.
Breitbart News reported in January Grand Traverse County Commissioner Ron Clous showed a gun during a meeting held via Zoom after a liberal activist demanded the board denounce the Proud Boys, which had no discernible presence in the area.
As Kelli MacIntosh spoke, Clous left his seat and, moments later, returned with a rifle.
He sat down with it across his lap, showing it on screen for about four seconds, and set it near his feet. He never pointed it at the camera or threatened MacIntosh.
MacIntosh, who did not respond to the incident during her remarks, told ABC 7, “I am asking for a statement and his response was shoving an assault rifle in my face.”
The activist then contacted Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg to demand an investigation into Clous, according to the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
Michigan State Police began an investigation.
“The AG’s office is reviewing the case to determine what, if any, charges should be filed,” Nessel spokesman Ryan Jarvi told the paper.
“There is no typical time frame for these types of reviews but we will thoroughly examine the case material to determine whether additional action is warranted by our office,” he added.