One accusation seems to have some teeth, the other appears to be a smear-job. Can you guess which one is which?
It seems like the corporate media has been completely fixated on two Governors during this pandemic — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Much like the choice between the policies of Trump and Biden in November, the difference in the handling of the coronavirus pandemic between DeSantis and Cuomo couldn’t be any more stark.
Cuomo favored lockdowns and put COVID-positive patients in nursing homes along with a supply of body bags and was praised by the corporate media and given an Emmy, while DeSantis immediately moved to protect the elderly patients in nursing homes while opening up the state and was getting lambasted in the press for allowing beaches to open.
ClashDaily covered the differences between DeSantis and Cuomo in more detail here:
The partisan press just can’t help themselves, though. Even as Cuomo’s star-status is diminishing among Democrats — not because of the absolute disaster of his handling of nursing homes, but because of #MeToo allegations — while, according to a CPAC straw poll, DeSantis is second only to President Trump for a 2024 run, the press continues to push partisan nonsense by what they choose and do not choose to cover.
Both Governors have been accused of using the pandemic as a “pay-to-play” scheme for donations, but it’s likely that you’ve only heard about one possible scandal and not the other.
While there isn’t a “smoking gun” in either pay-to-play accusation, let’s contrast what is alleged.
Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY)
Our esteemed colleague, Jeff Dunetz covered the possible pay-to-play with New York’s “Luv Gov’ in his article, “Cuomo’s Fatal Nursing Home Order May Be Payback For Major Campaign Donations.” A portion of which is reprinted below with permission.
Campaign donations of over a million dollars from a hospital trade association may have been behind NY Gov. Cuomo’s infamous nursing home order, resulting in thousands of Nursing Home deaths.
In September 2020. In the Wall Street Journal, Bill Hammond reported that one trade association came up with and sold to Cuomo the idea for his March 25, 2020 order that caused the deaths of thousands of Seniors in nursing homes.
“Look closely at a questionable Empire State health-care policy, and you’re liable to find the fingerprints of the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNHA), the hospital and health-system trade group that is one of the most influential forces in New York politics.”
According to Hammond, it was the powerful GNHA that came up with and sold the idea to the Governor, which resulted in the lame-brained March 25th, order which said, “No resident shall be denied readmission or admission to a nursing home solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. Nursing homes are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 before admission or readmission.”
Thanks to the Cuomo-approved decree, GNHA hospitals got out of treating the most serious CoronaVirus patients. Instead, nursing homes were forced to become Petri dishes for growing and spreading the virus, killing thousands of seniors. Another report claims this wasn’t the first reward to the hospital association provided by the Governor.
A few weeks after Hammond’s report, the NY Post showed the results of an exclusive audit of campaign donations to Cuomo by OpenTheBooks.com, which explained that the Governor’s rewards to the GNHA began way before CoronaVirus began to infect the state.
But now we discover that Cuomo got campaign funds from the hospital organizations that lobbied for his lethal policy for the elderly and which then bought TV ads whitewashing his culpability.
An exclusive audit of campaign donations to Cuomo by OpenTheBooks.com shows disturbing links with industry bodies which demanded the disastrous order forcing nursing homes to admit COVID-infected patients hospitals didn’t want.
Overall, the audit shows a “systematic pay-to-play culture in Albany,” says Adam Andrzejewski, CEO of OpenTheBooks.com, a nonprofit which has compiled a comprehensive database of US public sector expenditure
Most disturbing is $1 million in donations from the Greater New York Hospital Association to the governor’s re-election campaign in 2018, plus other generous in-kind support (…) A few days before the 2018 election, Cuomo approved a multibillion-dollar Medicaid rate hike for hospitals and nursing homes, which the association had lobbied for, and which allowed them to settle a pay dispute with the union.
But that’s not all. Read the rest at The Lid.
One more thing… Andrew Perez, the editor of The Daily Poster noted that one of Cuomo’s top aides, Melissa DeRosa — who was allegedly intimidating women who came forward with accusations of the governor behaving inappropriately and was involved in changing the report on COVID nursing home deaths — has some familial connections to the Greater New York Hospital Association which wrote the liability shield signed into law by the governor that would protect health care facilities from liability for COVID-related deaths.
NYT says Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa was involved in changing a report on COVID nursing home deaths. Her father and siblings work for the hospital lobbying group that wrote Cuomo’s liability shield for nursing home execs pic.twitter.com/OnnoVVrHzz
— Andrew Perez (@andrewperezdc) March 5, 2021
Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL)
On Wednesday, the Miami Herald published an article accusing Gov. DeSantis of rewarding wealthy, elderly donors with priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine in a gated community in Key Largo. The issue is that large donations from that community had been given to Governor DeSantis including one for $250,000 from Bruce Rauner, an Ocean Reef resident and former Republican Governor of Illinois. That looks pretty damning.
DeSantis called the article a “major failure” and a “really poorly executed hit piece” while dismissing suggestions that he was involved in decisions that may have favored vaccinations for the wealthy or those who donated to his political committee.
“The Miami Herald article was a train wreck,” DeSantis said during a press conference. “That was not a site that we were involved in, in the Keys. What that was, was one of the South Florida hospital systems went to this community and vaccinated a bunch of seniors. I think that’s great. I want seniors to get shots, I think they did a good job of doing that.”
“We just weren’t involved with it in any way, shape, or form,” added DeSantis. “If you’re 65 and up, I’m not worried about your income bracket, I’m worried about your age bracket. Because it’s the age, not the income, that shows the risk.”
The Newsweek article above also states, “All of the more than 1,200 residents who were reportedly vaccinated in the wealthy community, the Ocean Reef Club in north Key Largo, were over the age of 65.”
DeSantis has made it perfectly clear that he is acquiring a stockpile of the vaccines and then allowing distribution to occur at the county and local level through coordination with hospitals. Gov. DeSantis signed an Executive Order that states the priority for vaccine distribution within the general population will be those who are over the age of 65.
Now, prominent Democrats, including former Governor Charlie Crist — who is seen as a potential challenger to DeSantis in 2022 — are crying foul. Crist is even calling for an FBI investigation into the vaccine distribution roll-out.
Yet another wealthy community connected to Governor DeSantis’s political donors got to skip to the very front of the line for the COVID vaccine — in January.
The Department of Justice must investigate. Period. https://t.co/PFYMjoU9S4
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) March 4, 2021
In a brand new report by the Sun Sentinel, the hospital appears to contradict what DeSantis said, BUT…
…Although vaccines were particularly scarce then even for those who qualified, many communities, not just Ocean Reef, were able to get them.
But in addition to having many DeSantis donors, the community also has close ties to Baptist Health. At least eight members of Baptist Health South Florida’s board or the board of its affiliated foundation live in Ocean Reef or have business or philanthropic ties to the wealthy enclave.
Source: Sun Sentinel via Yahoo News (Emphasis Added)
So the political corruption could actually be hospital corruption rewarding their friends? Ok. Got it.
That is the story making headlines.
To sum up…
On the one hand, you have the Governor of New York being lobbied by the $1 million donor, Greater New York Hospital Association, that didn’t want to take COVID patients and came up with the nursing home policy, and that same hospital association then paid for ads absolving Cuomo of wrongdoing. Oh, and by the way, Cuomo had made some pretty choice appointments in February 2020 to the Medicaid Redesign Team which Jeff notes towards the end of his article.
On the other hand, you have the Governor of Florida who might be involved in prioritizing vaccinating seniors that donated to his campaign but there’s this murky question about the objectivity of the hospital who actually handled the vaccine distribution.
Which one do you think is getting all of the media attention?
That’s why we call them the Media (D) — because they actively run cover for Democrats.
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