Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) seems to be following in the footsteps of her counterpart in New York state.
According to Fox News, Whitmer and the state of Michigan are now the subjects of a lawsuit aimed at unraveling data that they say is being withheld by the state on the number of COVID-19-infected patients who were forced back into nursing homes under the governor’s controversial policies last spring.
According to Fox, Steve Delie, who works for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and Charlie LeDuff, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, filed suit with the intent to expose data on the impact of Whitmer’s April 2020 order forcing coronavirus patients back into assisted living facilities.
It’s certainly a familiar story: Whitmer’s order, which was strikingly similar to an executive order issued by Andrew Cuomo (D), was issued just a few weeks after the New York governor made the same move.
At the crux of the scandal surrounding Gov. Cuomo is the fact that it took some five months of bitter political fighting and legal maneuvers to finally uncover that his administration was withholding critical data that LeDuff and Delie — along with many others — say the public deserved to have access to.
Luckily for Whitmer — at least for now — Michigan law exempts her from complying with Freedom of Information laws, according to Fox, making her only one of two governors in the nation to enjoy such an unprecedented shield from providing data to the public — data that could be a ticking political timebomb.
“Thanks to this exemption, the governor [Whitmer] has no obligation to produce any records whatsoever, despite making decisions affecting the lives of every Michigander,” the plaintiffs in the case wrote, according to Fox.
Request for probe denied
The lawsuit follows on the heels of a dust-up early in March between Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) and several Michigan Republicans who asked the AG to investigate Whitmer’s executive orders related to the state’s nursing homes.
“I appreciate that you and your colleagues have policy disagreements with Gov. Whitmer’s response to COVID-19,” Nessel said at the time, as Fox reported. “But an investigation by my office is not the mechanism to resolve those disagreements.”
State Republicans and a number of media pundits leveled harsh criticism at Whitmer for pulling the same move as Cuomo with regard to returning COVID-19 patients to nursing homes, which are literally full of the nation’s most vulnerable population to the coronavirus.
On Friday, it was reported by The New York Times that Cuomo is now facing an investigation by both state prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over his policies surrounding COVID-19 in these facilities.
From what’s being reported this week, it’s not a stretch to wonder if Whitmer will eventually face the same consequences for her actions.