Legislative Democrats on Tuesday blocked an audit of COVID-19 testing failures that occurred during a spike of 1,100 nursing home deaths in Colorado during the 2020 Christmas season — the worst nursing home death rate in the nation.
Democrats on the Legislative Audit Committee unanimously torpedoed the audit request by Republicans on a party line vote.
PeakNation™ will remember the no-bid contract and $90 million awarded to Curative to provide the questionable testing, which reportedly produced false negatives on the most vulnerable of patients and could have led to the rapid spread of the virus.
Now Coloradans will never know what went wrong, or whether the contract should have been awarded to the company in the first place.
Gary Lauder, a financial backer in Curative, was also a major donor to Colorado Democrats and Gov. Polis.
The testing scandal was first reported by Colorado Public Radio, and Polis has refused to comment or explain the contract, which was abandoned after two months.
“I am disappointed, but I cannot imagine what the families of those affected must feel,” said Republican state Sen. Rob Woodward of Loveland, who authored the audit request.
“We owe it to them to get to the bottom of what happened so we can either look them in the eye and tell them ‘we did our best’ or fix what went wrong and ensure it never happens again. Democrats stopped that from happening,” Woodward said.
Added Republican state Sen. Jim Smallwood of Parker:
“This audit request would have allowed a nonpartisan office to carefully examine what happened in our nursing homes. I am very disappointed that each and every Democrat member of this committee was unwilling to put partisan politics aside and encourage a deep retrospective review of this tragic situation.”
Voting in favor of the audit were Woodward, Smallwood, and Republican state Reps. Colin Larson and Rod Bockenfeld.
Voting against the audit were Democrat state Sens. Robert Rodriguez and Julie Gonzales, and Democrat state Reps. Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Andrew Boesenecker, who was called in at the last minute to vote for state Rep. Dylan Roberts of Avon.
Roberts was spotted in the Capitol shortly after the committee meeting, so it’s unclear why he ducked the vote, said Kyle Kohli, executive director of Compass Colorado.
“Colorado families may have lost loved ones because of the Polis administration’s off-label use of COVID tests,” Kohli said. “These families deserve a nonpartisan investigation and the truth, not partisan politics.”
Roberts is running for the state Senate seat representing the 8th District. So he owes voters there an explanation as to why he blew off such an important vote, and where he stands on the audit.
Coverup, or come clean?