the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Trenton NJ, Senator Michael Testa called for the State Commission of Investigation (SCI) to look into allegations of impropriety that have been raised by whistleblowers and former employees at New Jersey’s Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Human Services (DHS).
“Now that the SCI has issued its report confirming the impropriety that we all suspected with Governor Murphy’s mismanagement of the SDA, it’s time to look into the serious allegations that have been raised about the failed and ineffective pandemic response of the Murphy Administration,” said Testa (R-1). “Current and former employers of DOH and DHS have told tales of lucrative contracts given out to cronies for expensive and unnecessary reports, along with high ranking officials who sought to direct taxpayer resources to be used for their own personal purposes.”
A group of anonymous whistleblowers from DOH and DHS have sent letters to legislative leaders and the media detailing the Murphy Administration’s haphazard, costly, and failed response to effectively managing the coronavirus crisis, which they said led to “preventable deaths.”
Similarly, a former high-ranking official in DOH claims he was fired after questioning the ethical propriety of a request he received to perform COVID testing on the family members of one of Governor Murphy’s top advisers in April. At the time, tests were scarce and limited to those actively displaying symptoms of the coronavirus.
Given the claims that have been made, Testa said an investigation of the Murphy Administration is clearly within the mandate of the SCI, which is charged with investigating waste, fraud, and abuse of government tax dollars.
“It’s not shocking that a Legislature controlled by Democrats is looking to brush the wrongdoing of a Democratic governor under the rug,” added Testa. “We still have a responsibility to hold the Murphy Administration accountable and to provide oversight of the taxpayer dollars that have been entrusted to the State’s care. Given its mission, the SCI clearly has a role to play in investigating the Murphy Administration’s pandemic response.”
Since May (see “Related News” for timeline), Senate Republicans have repeatedly called for the New Jersey Senate to form a bipartisan investigative committee with subpoena power to review the Murphy Administration’s response to COVID-19.
An online petition was launched urging the legislative investigation to take place, with a focus on the Murphy Administration’s failed policies that led to more than 7,100 deaths that may have been preventable in New Jersey’s nursing homes, veterans homes, and long-term care facilities. More than 2,200 people have signed since the petition was launched last week.