FILE - Jim Durkin

Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin R-Western Springs

(The Center Square) – Illinois House Republicans are formally asking the Illinois Attorney General to investigate the Pritzker administration’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home last fall that killed 36 residents.

A letter House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, sent Attorney General Kwame Raoul said the outbreak was avoidable.

“The [Inspector General for the Illinois Department of Human Services] is very troubling and saddening,” Durkin said. “Based on the findings made in the report, it is clear that the transfer of COVID-19 to vulnerable patients at LaSalle Veterans' Home was avoidable. Caring for our aged veterans in our state facilities should always rise to the highest standard of care. That standard of care for our heroic veterans … was not met.”

He said the report laid out actions and inactions at the home “including the abdication of duties of Governor [J.B.] Pritzker’s chosen agency director and failures on even basic precautions – such as placing COVID-19 positive veterans with COVID-19 negative veterans.”

Durkin wrote that neglect of the elderly and the disabled violates state law and “in this case, our veterans were under the direct care of the executive branch.”

“I ask that your office open an investigation on this issue and if appropriate prosecute to the fullest extent,” the letter states.

Other Republicans who signed the letter include state Reps. Dan Swanson, R-Woodhall; Tom Bennett, R-Pontiac; Avery Bourne, R-Raymond; Dan Brady, R-Bloomington; Tim Butler, R-Springfield; C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville; Tom Demmer, R-Dixon; Deanne Mazzochi, R-Elmhurst; Ryan Spain, R-Peoria; David Welter, R-Morris; and Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego.

The Attorney General’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Associate Editor

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience and hosts the WMAY Morning Newsfeed out of Springfield.