Doug Ringler, the state’s auditor general, responded to a request by Michigan House Oversight Committee Chairman state Rep. Steven Johnson to perform a review of how many nursing home residents died from COVID-19 as a result of Whitmer’s policy.
Johnson asked that Ringler undertake a “comprehensive study of reported and unreported deaths in long-term care facilities.”
In response, Ringler said: “We will be working with various departments’ databases to address your concerns, which will impact the timing of our work.”
He added the audit will be completed sometime between late September and mid-October.
Michigan Republicans praised the announcement as an important step towards accountability.
“The Auditor General’s investigation will finally uncover the full extent of Governor Whitmer’s deadly nursing home policy and give the people of our state the answers they deserve,” Eric Ventimiglia, executive director of Michigan Rising Action, said in a statement. “Governor Whitmer’s refusal to relent on this disastrous policy led to the deaths of thousands of Michiganders, and this investigation will ensure that she and her administration are held accountable for their recklessness.”
The news comes several months after Michigan’s Democrat attorney general, Dana Nessel, turned down a similar request by state Republicans to investigate Whitmer’s nursing home policy.
She claimed back in March the investigation was not needed “at this time” and said there was no evidence “any law has been violated.”
“The suggestion that these public health policy decisions, by themselves, should be investigated because different approaches could have resulted in fewer deaths is inappropriate and violates well-established ethical guidelines for investigations by law enforcement agencies,” Nessel claimed.