In a pool photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., Thursday, April 9, 2020. The governor signed an executive order extending her prior “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through the end of April. The order limits gatherings and travel and requires all workers who are not necessary to sustain or protect life to stay home. The order also imposes more stringent limitations on stores to reduce foot traffic to slow the spread of the coronavirus. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, Pool)
People have been infuriated with Michigan Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer and her draconian restrictions over the Wuhan coronavirus.
But now, she’s managed to tic off even more people with another move when her administration intended.
On Monday she announced how the state was going to be conducting contact-tracing. But what made people sit up and take notice was that the company named to handle the operation was one of her own campaign venders and a Democratic-connected company.
From Free Beacon:
The move has sparked concern that she is using the coronavirus to strengthen the Democratic Party’s data operation, potentially at the expense of public health.
The Whitmer administration announced Monday that it had awarded a contract for contact tracing in the state to Every Action VAN, an arm of the Democratic data behemoth NGP VAN. The liberal firm works with all of the major Democratic campaign committees and hundreds of labor unions across the country, according to its website, and will “help organize remote phone banking and track information and contacts” for Michigan, a state press release said.
The group is run by Stuart Trevelyan, a longtime Democratic campaign operative who worked in the Clinton White House and is currently assisting presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign with voter outreach and fundraising, according to Federal Election Commission reports. Whitmer’s own gubernatorial campaign paid NGP VAN nearly $5,000 in 2019, according to state campaign finance records. Every Action is a branch of the firm that works with nonprofit organizations.
Whoops. I’m sure that wouldn’t be misused and I’m sure the choice of this firm was just a coincidence, right?
That would have given the firm health and contact information of thousands of people across the state.
Wes Nakagiri, a local county commissioner who was trained to participate in the program, told the Washington Free Beacon that taxpayer money should not be used to assist Democratic candidates and campaigns.
“I’ve been involved with grassroots activists for a little over a decade. I’ve never seen anything like this on the conservative side of the ledger, where you’ve got this entity working with governmental bodies, dumping huge networks of information into one database,” Nakagiri told the Free Beacon. “They’re asking for contact information, they’re asking for who else lives in the house—it’s troubling that this information is being stored in a Democrat-aligned database.”
NGP Van said that the state would own the data, that it would not be used for political purposes. Uh huh.
That wasn’t all.
The state also awarded a contract for contact tracing to Great Lakes Community Engagement, a group operated by the Democratic consultant Michael Kolehouse. Kolehouse is the owner of Kolehouse Strategies, which advertises itself as a door-knocking firm for progressive candidates and brandishes praise on its website from Michigan Democratic Party chairwoman Lavora Barnes.
According to the release, it appeared that Great Lakes Community Engagement would provide the outreach, while Every Action VAN, a “voter/individual contact platform used by non-profits’ was to provide software to help organize remote phone banking and track information and contacts.
The contracts apparently did not go out to competitive bidding because of the emergency situation. The contracts should have been approved by the State Emergency Operations Center, but were not, according to the Detroit News, citing a spokesperson for Gov. Whitmer, despite the fact the SEOC announced the contracts. It’s not clear how it could have been approved if it didn’t go through the proper process and that just raises more questions.
But the state pulled the contracts after an uproar ensued on Tuesday about the contracts.
Whitmer spokeswoman says the contract should have been approved by the State Emergency Operations Center. "This issue is being corrected, and a different vendor and software platform will be selected by the SEOC." https://t.co/CuzDLgJHE7
— Jonathan Oosting (@jonathanoosting) April 21, 2020
This is who @GovWhitmer tried to give taxpayer $$ to:
“NGP VAN has a voter database that is used by many top Dems and has been utilized in several presidential campaigns, including Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 races & Hillary Clinton’s operation in 2016.”https://t.co/kkFMJ0SsAU
— Richard Walters (@rww_gop) April 21, 2020
Gov. Whitmer awarded coronavirus response contracts to partisan Democrat operatives.
One is the data services provider for the entire Democrat Party.
Another, Mike Kolehouse, received $500k for work with the Michigan Democrat Party in 2018.https://t.co/yFDHpEiZr4
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) April 21, 2020
Just the latest embarrassing episode from Governor Whitmer, who has had misstep after misstep since she stepped into the national limelight. https://t.co/hB6TbqfUyf
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) April 21, 2020
Guessing this wouldn’t be the end of it, let the FOIA and the investigations into how this all came down begin…