News & Politics

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Awards Huge Coronavirus Contract to Democrat Consulting Firm (Updated)

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)

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has awarded the state contract to trace and track coronavirus victims to a Democratic consulting firm that worked for her 2019 campaign.

Contact tracing is used to find out who’s got the virus and who they’ve been in contact with. The massive amount of data this generates could help in finding out who should be tested and where resources to fight the spread of coronavirus need to go. And it can also provide information useful to elected politicians.

Whitmer awarded a contract for contact tracing in the state to Every Action VAN, an arm of the Democratic data heavyweight NGP VAN. Essentially, Whitmer has given the ability of NGP Van to develop a massive voter database. The company says it won’t use the data collected in Michigan for political purposes. If you believe that I’ve can sell you Mackinac Bridge for a song.

Washington Free Beacon:

States across the country have begun contact tracing operations in the hope that wide-scale interviews will unlock crucial information and prevent additional infections. But Whitmer appears to be the first governor to employ a group that typically focuses on politics to help with the task. In Massachusetts, Republican governor Charlie Baker has partnered with the health care nonprofit Partners in Health to conduct contract tracing and track diseases across the globe.

Every Action’s other clients include the radical anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace, Planned Parenthood, and the left-wing National Women’s Law Center. Whitmer’s office did not respond to a request for comment, and the state has not disclosed the dollar amount of the contract awarded to the firm.

One local Michigan lawmaker trained to participate in the tracing program expressed alarm at the prospect of Democrats in control of so much information.

“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.”

They can say whatever they want about not using the information for politics, but anyone who knows anything about campaigns knows how easy it is to access such a database. The state of Michigan may “own” the information but NGP Van will have access to the database. There simply aren’t enough safeguards to prevent a private company from using that access to gather vital information.

There’s no doubt that contact tracing is going to be a vital part of getting the country back to normal. But couldn’t Whitmer have found a non-profit or clearly non-partisan company to do it?

UPDATE

Whitmer has rescinded the contract. Apparently, she sort of, kind of, bypassed established protocols and awarded a no-bid contract to a partisan Democratic company.

I guess the topper was when one of the company principals, Michael Kolehouse, said on Facebook President Trump should “get Coronavirus ASAP” and that someone should “do the country a favor and cough on that man.”

Nice people you’re hanging around with there, guv.

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